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1.  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.
PMCID: PMC2655357  PMID: 18422643
enzyme–ligand complex; GHMP kinase; isoprenoid biosynthesis; molecular recognition; non-mevalonate pathway
2.  The Glycogen-Binding Domain on the AMPK β Subunit Allows the Kinase to Act as a Glycogen Sensor 
Cell Metabolism  2009;9(1):23-34.
AMPK β subunits contain a conserved domain that causes association with glycogen. Although glycogen availability is known to affect AMPK regulation in vivo, the molecular mechanism for this has not been clear. We now show that AMPK is inhibited by glycogen, particularly preparations with high branching content. We synthesized a series of branched oligosaccharides and show that those with a single α1→6 branch are allosteric inhibitors that also inhibit phosphorylation by upstream kinases. Removal of the outer chains of glycogen using phosphorylase, thus exposing the outer branches, renders inhibition of AMPK more potent. Inhibition by all carbohydrates tested was dependent on the glycogen-binding domain being abolished by mutation of residues required for carbohydrate binding. Our results suggest the hypothesis that AMPK, as well as monitoring immediate energy availability by sensing AMP/ATP, may also be able to sense the status of cellular energy reserves in the form of glycogen.
PMCID: PMC2642990  PMID: 19117544

Results 1-2 (2)