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author:("touch, Terry")
1.  Mechanism of Inhibition of Novel Tryptophan Hydroxylase Inhibitors Revealed by Co-crystal Structures and Kinetic Analysis 
Trytophan Hydroxylase Type I (TPH1), most abundantly expressed in the gastrointestinal tract, initiates the synthesis of serotonin by catalyzing hydroxylation of tryptophan in the presence of biopterin and oxygen. We have previously described three series of novel, periphery-specific TPH1 inhibitors that selectively deplete serotonin in the gastrointestinal tract. We have now determined co-crystal structures of TPH1 with three of these inhibitors at high resolution. Analysis of the structural data showed that each of the three inhibitors fills the tryptophan binding pocket of TPH1 without reaching into the binding site of the cofactor pterin, and induces major conformational changes of the enzyme. The enzyme-inhibitor complexes assume a compact conformation that is similar to the one in tryptophan complex. Kinetic analysis showed that all three inhibitors are competitive versus the substrate tryptophan, consistent with the structural data that the compounds occupy the tryptophan binding site. On the other hand, all three inhibitors appear to be uncompetitive versus the cofactor 6-methyltetrahydropterin, which is not only consistent with the structural data but also indicate that the hydroxylation reaction follows an ordered binding mechanism in which a productive complex is formed only if tryptophan binds only after pterin, similar to the kinetic mechanisms of tyrosine and phenylalanine hydroxylase.
PMCID: PMC2885594  PMID: 20556201
Serotonin; structure; kinetics; gastrointestinal disorder; carcinoid; monooxygenase.
2.  The big problems don’t go away by themselves 
PMCID: PMC2777205  PMID: 19894023
3.  Outcome of a Workshop on Applications of Protein Models in Biomedical Research 
We describe the proceedings and conclusions from a “Workshop on Applications of Protein Models in Biomedical Research” that was held at University of California at San Francisco on 11 and 12 July, 2008. At the workshop, international scientists involved with structure modeling explored (i) how models are currently used in biomedical research, (ii) what the requirements and challenges for different applications are, and (iii) how the interaction between the computational and experimental research communities could be strengthened to advance the field.
PMCID: PMC2739730  PMID: 19217386
4.  Chemical Genetics Reveals an RGS/G-Protein Role in the Action of a Compound 
PLoS Genetics  2006;2(4):e57.
We report here on a chemical genetic screen designed to address the mechanism of action of a small molecule. Small molecules that were active in models of urinary incontinence were tested on the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and the resulting phenotypes were used as readouts in a genetic screen to identify possible molecular targets. The mutations giving resistance to compound were found to affect members of the RGS protein/G-protein complex. Studies in mammalian systems confirmed that the small molecules inhibit muscarinic G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling involving G-αq (G-protein alpha subunit). Our studies suggest that the small molecules act at the level of the RGS/G-αq signaling complex, and define new mutations in both RGS and G-αq, including a unique hypo-adapation allele of G-αq. These findings suggest that therapeutics targeted to downstream components of GPCR signaling may be effective for treatment of diseases involving inappropriate receptor activation.
The authors have utilized Caenorhabditis elegans, and yeast genetics, combined with mammalian tissue and cell culture experiments to investigate the mechanism of action of a unique set of small molecules. These molecules are active in tissue models of urinary incontinence and allow for increased bladder filling. In the course of studying sensitivity and resistance to these compounds, Fitzgerald et al. uncovered novel alleles of RGS and Gq proteins. Further characterization of one such allele identified that its action conferred a hypo-adaptive phenotype on yeast during pheromone signaling assays. Their data as a whole indicate that these small molecules are able to diminish signaling from G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) downstream of the receptors themselves. Since GPCR signaling is very important in many diseases in humans, the novel mechanism of these compounds may offer new ways to treat human disease.
PMCID: PMC1440875  PMID: 16683034

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