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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1998 Mar 1;351(1):123-34.

Biochemical role of the Cryptococcus neoformans ADE2 protein in fungal de novo purine biosynthesis.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-1333, USA.


Comparative studies of 5-aminoimidazole ribonucleotide (AIR) carboxylases from Escherichia coli and Gallus gallus have identified this central step in de novo purine biosynthesis as a case for unusual divergence in primary metabolism. Recent discoveries establish the fungal AIR carboxylase, encoded by the ADE2 gene, as essential for virulence in certain pathogenic organisms. This investigation is a biochemical analysis that links the fungal ADE2 protein to the function of the E. coli AIR carboxylase system. A cDNA clone of ADE2 from Cryptococcus neoformans was isolated by genetic complementation of a purE-deficient strain of E. coli. High-level expression of the C. neoformans ADE2 was achieved, which enabled the production and purification of AIR carboxylase. Amino acid sequence alignments, C-terminal deletion mutants, and biochemical assays indicate that the ADE2 enzyme is a two-domain, bifunctional protein. The N-terminal domain is related to E. coli PurK and a series of kinetic experiments show that the ADE2-PurK activity uses AIR, ATP, and HCO3- as substrates. The biosynthetic product of the ADE2-PurK reaction was identified as N5-carboxyaminoimidazole ribonucleotide (N5-CAIR) by 1H NMR, thus confirming that the C-terminal domain contains a catalytic activity similar to that of the E. coli PurE. By using an in situ system for substrate production, the steady-state kinetic constants for turnover of N5-CAIR by ADE2 were determined and together with stoichiometry measurements, these data indicate that ADE2 has a balance in the respective catalytic turnovers to ensure efficient flux. Distinctive features of the PurE active site were probed using 4-nitro-5-aminoimidazole ribonucleotide (NAIR), an analog of the product 4-carboxy-5-aminoimidazole ribonucleotide (CAIR). NAIR was shown to be a selective inhibitor of the ADE2-PurE activity (K1 = 2.4 microM), whereas it is a slow-binding inhibitor of the G. gallus enzyme which further distinguishes the fungal ADE2 from the G. gallus AIR carboxylase. As such, this enzyme represents a novel intracellular target for the discovery of antifungal agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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