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1.  Design and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Structure Determination of the Second Extracellular Immunoglobulin Tyrosine Kinase A (TrkAIg2) Domain Construct for Binding Site Elucidation in Drug Discovery 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2014;58(2):767-777.
The tyrosine kinase A (TrkA) receptor is a validated therapeutic intervention point for a wide range of conditions. TrkA activation by nerve growth factor (NGF) binding the second extracellular immunoglobulin (TrkAIg2) domain triggers intracellular signaling cascades. In the periphery, this promotes the pain phenotype and, in the brain, cell survival or differentiation. Reproducible structural information and detailed validation of protein–ligand interactions aid drug discovery. However, the isolated TrkAIg2 domain crystallizes as a β-strand-swapped dimer in the absence of NGF, occluding the binding surface. Here we report the design and structural validation by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the first stable, biologically active construct of the TrkAIg2 domain for binding site confirmation. Our structure closely mimics the wild-type fold of TrkAIg2 in complex with NGF (1WWW.pdb), and the 1H–15N correlation spectra confirm that both NGF and a competing small molecule interact at the known binding interface in solution.
doi:10.1021/jm501307e
PMCID: PMC4504729  PMID: 25454499
2.  Characterization of Aquifex aeolicus 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol kinase – ligand recognition in a template for antimicrobial drug discovery 
The Febs Journal  2008;275(11):2779-2794.
4-Diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol kinase (IspE) catalyses the ATP-dependent conversion of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol (CDPME) to 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol 2-phosphate with the release of ADP. This reaction occurs in the non-mevalonate pathway of isoprenoid precursor biosynthesis and because it is essential in important microbial pathogens and absent from mammals it represents a potential target for anti-infective drugs. We set out to characterize the biochemical properties, determinants of molecular recognition and reactivity of IspE and report the cloning and purification of recombinant Aquifex aeolicus IspE (AaIspE), kinetic data, metal ion, temperature and pH dependence, crystallization and structure determination of the enzyme in complex with CDP, CDPME and ADP. In addition, 4-fluoro-3,5-dihydroxy-4-methylpent-1-enylphosphonic acid (compound 1) was designed to mimic a fragment of the substrate, a synthetic route to 1 was elucidated and the complex structure determined. Surprisingly, this ligand occupies the binding site for the ATP α-phosphate not the binding site for the methyl-d-erythritol moiety of CDPME. Gel filtration and analytical ultracentrifugation indicate that AaIspE is a monomer in solution. The enzyme displays the characteristic α/β galacto-homoserine-mevalonate-phosphomevalonate kinase fold, with the catalytic centre positioned in a deep cleft between the ATP- and CDPME-binding domains. Comparisons indicate a high degree of sequence conservation on the IspE active site across bacterial species, similarities in structure, specificity of substrate recognition and mechanism. The biochemical characterization, attainment of well-ordered and reproducible crystals and the models resulting from the analyses provide reagents and templates to support the structure-based design of broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents.
doi:10.1111/j.1742-4658.2008.06418.x
PMCID: PMC2655357  PMID: 18422643
enzyme–ligand complex; GHMP kinase; isoprenoid biosynthesis; molecular recognition; non-mevalonate pathway

Results 1-2 (2)