Glucosamine-6-phosphate synthase, a novel target for antifungal agents. Molecular modelling studies in drug design.
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Fungal infections are a growing problem in contemporary medicine, yet only a few antifungal agents are used in clinical practice. In our laboratory we proposed the enzyme L-glutamine : D-fructose-6-phosphate amidotransferase (EC 184.108.40.206) as a new target for antifungals. The structure of this enzyme consists of two domains, N-terminal and C-terminal ones, catalysing glutamine hydrolysis and sugar-phosphate isomerisation, respectively. In our laboratory a series of potent selective inhibitors of GlcN-6-P synthase have been designed and synthesised. One group of these compounds, including the most studied N3-(4-methoxyfumaroyl)-l-2,3-diaminopropanoic acid (FMDP), behave like glutamine analogs acting as active-site-directed inactivators, blocking the N-terminal, glutamine-binding domain of the enzyme. The second group of GlcN-6-P synthase inhibitors mimic the transition state of the reaction taking place in the C-terminal sugar isomerising domain. Surprisingly, in spite of the fact that glutamine is the source of nitrogen for a number of enzymes it turned out that the glutamine analogue FMDP and its derivatives are selective against GlcN-6-P synthase and they do not block other enzymes, even belonging to the same family of glutamine amidotransferases. Our molecular modelling studies of this phenomenon revealed that even within the family of related enzymes substantial differences may exist in the geometry of the active site. In the case of the glutamine amidotransferase family the glutamine binding site of GlcN-6-P synthase fits a different region of the glutamine conformational space than other amidotransferases. Detailed analysis of the interaction pattern for the best known, so far, inhibitor of the sugar isomerising domain, namely 2-amino-2-deoxy-d-glucitol-6-phosphate (ADGP), allowed us to suggest changes in the structure of the inhibitor that should improve the interaction pattern. The novel ligand was designed and synthesised. Biological experiments confirmed our predictions. The new compound named ADMP is a much better inhibitor of glucosamine-6-phosphate synthase than ADGP.
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