Uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT) is a member of a large family of salvage and biosynthetic enzymes, the phosphoribosyltransferases, and catalyzes the transfer of ribose 5-phosphate from α-D-5-phosphoribosyl-1-pyrophosphate (PRPP) to the N1 nitrogen of uracil. The UPRT from the opportunistic pathogen Toxoplasrna gondii represents a promising target for rational drug design, because it can create intracellular, lethal nucleotides from subversive substrates. However, the development of such compounds requires a detailed understanding of the catalytic mechanism. Toward this end we determined the crystal structure of the T. gondii UPRT bound to uracil and cPRPP, a nonhydrolyzable PRPP analogue, to 2.5-Å resolution. The structure suggests that the catalytic mechanism is substrate-assisted, and a tetramer would be the more active oligomeric form of the enzyme. Subsequent biochemical studies revealed that GTP binding, which has been suggested to play a role in catalysis by other UPRTs, causes a 6-fold activation of the T. gondii enzyme and strikingly stabilizes the tetramer form. The basis for stabilization was revealed in the 2.45-Å resolution structure of the UPRT-GTP complex, whereby residues from three subunits contributed to GTP binding. Thus, our studies reveal an allosteric mechanism involving nucleotide stabilization of a more active, higher order oligomer. Such regulation of UPRT could play a role in the balance of purine and pyrimidine nucleotide pools in the cell.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jan 8 2002|
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