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Biochemistry. 1998 Oct 27;37(43):15066-75.

A 1.4 A crystal structure for the hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase of Trypanosoma cruzi.

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Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology & Drug Design, School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7360, USA.


The hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT) from Trypanosoma cruzi, etiologic agent of Chagas' disease, was cocrystallized with the inosine analogue Formycin B (FmB) and the structure determined to 1.4 A resolution. This is the highest resolution structure yet reported for a phosphoribosyltransferase (PRT), and the asymmetric unit of the crystal contains a dimer of closely associated, nearly identical subunits. A conserved nonproline cis peptide in one active-site loop exposes the main-chain nitrogen to the enzyme active site, while the adjacent lysine side chain interacts with the other subunit of the dimer, thereby providing a possible mechanism for communication between the subunits and their active sites. The three-dimensional coordinates for the invariant Ser103-Tyr104 dipeptide are reported here for the first time. These are the only highly conserved residues in a second active-site loop, termed the long flexible loop, which is predicted to close over the active site of HPRTs to protect a labile transition state [Eads et al. (1994) Cell 78, 325-334]. This structure represents a major step forward in efforts to design/discover potent selective inhibitors of the HPRT of T. cruzi.

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