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Mol Pharmacol. 1994 Mar;45(3):555-60.

Role of tyrosine 337 in the binding of huperzine A to the active site of human acetylcholinesterase.

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Israel Institute for Biological Research, Ness-Ziona.


Huperzine A (HUP), a natural, potent, 'slow,' reversible inhibitor of antiacetylcholinesterase (AChE), has been suggested to be superior to antiacetylcholinesterase drugs now being used for management of Alzheimer's disease. To delineate the binding site of human AChE (HuAChE) for HUP, the biochemical constants kon, koff, and Ki were determined for complexes formed between HUP and single-site (Y337F, Y337A, F295A, W286A, and E202Q) or double-site (F295L/F297V) mutants of recombinant HuAChE (rHuAChE). The kinetic and dissociation constants were compared with those obtained for wild-type rHuAChE and AChE from Torpedo californica. Results demonstrate that the inhibition of AChE by HUP occurs through association with residues located inside the active site 'gorge,' rather than at the rim of the gorge. Tyrosine at position 337 (Y337) is essential for inhibition of rHuAChE by HUP (Ki = 26 nM). An aromatic array constituted from residues Y337, F295, and probably W86 is likely to offer a multicontact subsite that interacts with the ammonium group and with both the exo-and endocyclic double bond moieties of HUP. Lack of the aromatic side chain in the position homologous to Y337 explains the poor inhibitory potency of HUP toward human butyrylcholinesterase (Ki > 20,000 nM). Replacement of the carboxylate-containing E202 by glutamine had only marginal effect on the stability of the complex formed between HUP and rHuAChE. The pH-rate profiles suggest that destabilization of the complex after proton gain cannot be attributed solely to protonation of E202. These findings are expected to establish HUP as a lead compound for the design of new anti-AChE drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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