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Journal Articles Biophysical Journal Year : 2020

Mechanism of Naphthoquinone Selectivity of Thymidylate Synthase ThyX


Naphthoquinones (NQs) are natural and synthetic compounds with a wide range of biological activities commonly attributed to their redox activity and/or chemical reactivity. However, genetic and biochemical experiments have recently demonstrated that 2-hydroxy-NQs (2-OH-NQs) act as highly specific non-covalent inhibitors of the essential bacterial thymidylate synthase ThyX in a cellular context. We used biochemical experiments and molecular dynamics simulations to elucidate the selective inhibition mechanism of NQ inhibitors of ThyX from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Free energy simulations rationalized how ThyX recognizes the natural substrate dUMP in the N3 ionized form using an arginine, Arg199 in Mtb. The results further demonstrated that 2-OH-NQ, similarly to dUMP, binds to ThyX in the ionized form and the strong and selective binding of 2-OH-NQ to ThyX is also explained by electrostatic interactions with Arg199. The stronger binding of the close analog 5F-dUMP to ThyX and its inhibitory properties compared to dUMP were explained by the stronger acidity of the uracil N3 atom. Our results, therefore, revealed that the ionization of 2-OH-NQs drives their biological activities by mimicking the interactions with the natural substrate. Our observations encourage the rational design of optimized ThyX inhibitors that ultimately may serve as antibiotics.
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hal-03026531 , version 1 (26-11-2020)



Hannu Myllykallio, Hubert F Becker, Alexey Aleksandrov. Mechanism of Naphthoquinone Selectivity of Thymidylate Synthase ThyX. Biophysical Journal, 2020, 119 (12), pp.2508-2516. ⟨10.1016/j.bpj.2020.10.042⟩. ⟨hal-03026531⟩
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