Video_7_Probing the Structural Dynamics of the Plasmodium falciparum Tunneling-Fold Enzyme 6-Pyruvoyl Tetrahydropterin Synthase to Reveal Allosteric Drug Targeting Sites.MP4
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The de novo folate synthesis pathway is a well-established drug target in the treatment of many infectious diseases. Antimalarial antifolate drugs have proven to be effective against malaria, however, rapid drug resistance has emerged on the two primary targeted enzymes: dihydrofolate reductase and dihydroptoreate synthase. The need to identify alternative antifolate drugs and novel metabolic targets is of imminent importance. The 6-pyruvol tetrahydropterin synthase (PTPS) enzyme belongs to the tunneling fold protein superfamily which is characterized by a distinct central tunnel/cavity. The enzyme catalyzes the second reaction step of the parasite’s de novo folate synthesis pathway and is responsible for the conversion of 7,8-dihydroneopterin to 6-pyruvoyl-tetrahydropterin. In this study, we examine the structural dynamics of Plasmodium falciparum PTPS using the anisotropic network model, to elucidate the collective motions that drive the function of the enzyme and identify potential sites for allosteric modulation of its binding properties. Based on our modal analysis, we identified key sites in the N-terminal domains and central helices which control the accessibility to the active site. Notably, the N-terminal domains were shown to regulate the open-to-closed transition of the tunnel, via a distinctive wringing motion that deformed the core of the protein. We, further, combined the dynamic analysis with motif discovery which revealed highly conserved motifs that are unique to the Plasmodium species and are located in the N-terminal domains and central helices. This provides essential structural information for the efficient design of drugs such as allosteric modulators that would have high specificity and low toxicity as they do not target the PTPS active site that is highly conserved in humans.
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