The effects of beverage alcohol (ethanol) on the body are determined largely by the rate at which it and its main breakdown product, acetaldehyde, are metabolized after consumption. The main metabolic pathway for ethanol involves the enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). Seven different ADHs and three different ALDHs that metabolize ethanol have been identieed. The genes encoding these enzymes exist in different variants (i.e., alleles), many of which differ by a single DNA building block (i.e., single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]). Some of these SNPs result in enzymes with altered kinetic properties. For example, certain ADH1B and ADH1C variants that are commonly found in East Asian populations lead to more rapid ethanol breakdown and acetaldehyde accumulation in the body. Because acetaldehyde has harmful effects on the body, people carrying these alleles are less likely to drink and have a lower risk of alcohol dependence. Likewise, an ALDH2 variant with reduced activity results in acetaldehyde buildup and also has a protective effect against alcoholism. In addition to affecting drinking behaviors and risk for alcoholism, ADH and ALDH alleles impact the risk for esophageal cancer.
Alcohol consumption; alcohol dependence; alcoholism; ethanol metabolism; genetic factors; protective factors; risk factors; DNA; genetics; genetic variance; enzymes; acetaldehyde; alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH); aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH); single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs); esophageal cancer
Over the past three years we have been involved in high-throughput screening in an effort to discover novel small molecular modulators of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity. In particular, we have been interested in both the activation and inhibitionof the three commonly studied isoenzymes, ALDH1A1, ALDH2 and ALDH3A1, as their distinct, yet overlapping substrate specificities, present a particularly difficult challenge for inhibitor discovery and design. Activation of ALDH2 has been shown to benefit cardiovascular outcome following periods of ischemia and renewed interest in specific inhibition of ALDH2 has application for alcohol aversion therapy, and more recently, in cocaine addiction. In contrast, inhibition of either ALDH1A1 or ALDH3A1 has application in cancer treatments where the isoenzymes are commonly over-expressed and serve as markers for cancer stem cells. We are taking two distinct approaches for these screens: in vitro enzyme activity screens using chemical libraries and virtual computational screens using the structures of the target enzymes as filters for identifying potential inhibitors, followed by in vitro testing of their ability to inhibit their intended targets. We have identified selective inhibitors of each of these three isoenzymes with inhibition constants in the high nanomolar to low micromolar range from these screening procedures. Together, these inhibitors provide proof for concept that selective inhibition of these broad specificity general detoxication enzymes through small molecule discovery and design is possible.
aldehyde dehydrogenase; high-throughput screening; computational docking
Glycogenin is a glycosyltransferase that functions as the autocatalytic initiator for the synthesis of glycogen in eukaryotic organisms. Prior structural work identified determinants responsible for the recognition and binding of UDP-glucose and the catalytic manganese ion and implicated two aspartic acid residues in the reaction mechanism for self-glucosylation. We examined the effects of substituting asparagine and serine for the aspartic acid residues at positions 159 and 162. We also examined whether the truncation of the protein at residue 270 (Δ270) was compatible with its structural integrity and its functional role as the initiator for glycogen synthesis. The truncated form of the enzyme was indistinguishable from the wild-type enzyme by all measures of activity and could support glycogen accumulation in a glycogenin-deficient yeast strain. Substitution of aspartate 159 by either serine or asparagine eliminated self-glucosylation, reduced trans-glucosylation activity by at least 260-fold but only reduced UDP-glucose hydrolytic activity by 4 to 14-fold. Substitution of aspartate 162 by either serine or asparagine eliminated self-glucosylation activity and reduced UDP-glucose hydrolytic activity by at least 190-fold. The trans-glucosylation of maltose was reduced to undetectable levels in the asparagine 162 mutant, while the serine 162 enzyme showed only a 18 to 30-fold reduction in its ability to trans-glucosylate maltose. These data support a role for aspartate 162 in the chemical step for the glucosyltransferase reaction and a role for aspartate 159 in binding and activating the acceptor molecule.
Mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) is the major enzyme that oxidizes ethanol-derived acetaldehyde. A nearly inactive form of the enzyme, ALDH2*2, is found in about 40% of the East Asian population. This variant enzyme is defined by a glutamate to lysine substitution at residue 487 located within the oligomerization domain. ALDH2*2 has an increased Km for its coenzyme, NAD+, and a decreased kcat, which lead to low activity in vivo. Here we report the 2.1 Å crystal structure of ALDH2*2. The structure shows a large disordered region located at the dimer interface that includes much of the coenzyme binding cleft and a loop of residues that form the base of the active site. As a consequence of these structural changes, the variant enzyme exhibits rigid-body rotations of its catalytic and coenzyme-binding domains relative to the oligomerization domain. These structural perturbations are the direct result of the inability of lysine 487 to form important stabilizing hydrogen bonds with arginines 264 and 475. Thus, the elevated Km for coenzyme exhibited by this variant likely reflects the energetic penalty for reestablishing this site for productive coenzyme binding, while the structural alterations near the active site are consistent with the lowered Vmax.
Molinate is a thiocarbamate herbicide used as a pre-emergent in rice patty fields. It has two predominant sulfoxidation metabolites, molinate sulfoxide and molinate sulfone. Previous work demonstrated an in vivo decrease in liver aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity in rats treated with molinate and motor function deficits in dogs dosed chronically with this compound. ALDH is an enzyme important in the catabolism of many neurotransmitters, such as dopamine. Inhibition of this enzyme may lead to the accumulation of endogenous neurotoxic metabolites such as 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (DOPAL), a dopamine metabolite, which may account for the observed neurotoxicity. In this study, the relative reactivity of molinate and both of its sulfoxidation metabolites towards ALDH were investigated, as well as the mechanism of inhibition. ALDH activity was monitored in two different model systems, human recombinant ALDH (hALDH2) and mouse striatal synaptosomes. Molinate sulfone was found to be the most potent ALDH inhibitor, compared to molinate and molinate sulfoxide. The reactivity of these three compounds was also assessed, using N-acetyl Cys, model peptides, and hALDH2. It was determined that molinate sulfone is capable of covalently modifying Cys residues, including catalytic Cys302 of ALDH, accounting for the observed enzyme inhibition.
Glycogen is a branched polymer of glucose that serves as an energy store. Phosphate, a trace constituent of glycogen, has profound effects on glycogen structure and phosphate hyperaccumulation is linked to Lafora disease, a fatal progressive myoclonus epilepsy that can be caused by mutations of laforin, a glycogen phosphatase. However, little is known about the metabolism of glycogen phosphate. We demonstrate here that the biosynthetic enzyme glycogen synthase, which normally adds glucose residues to glycogen, is capable of incorporating the β-phosphate of its substrate UDP-glucose at a rate of one phosphate per approximately 10,000 glucoses, in what may be considered a catalytic error. We show that the phosphate in glycogen is present as C2 and C3 phosphomonoesters. Since hyperphosphorylation of glycogen causes Lafora disease, phosphate removal by laforin may thus be considered a repair or damage control mechanism.
glycogen; glycogen synthase; laforin; Lafora disease; glycogen phosphorylation; glycogen phosphatase
Thiamin pyrophosphokinase (TPK) transfers a pyrophosphate group from ATP to the hydroxyl group of thiamin and produces thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP). TPP is the cofactor of metabolically important enzymes such as pyruvate dehydrogenase, α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase, branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase, transketolase and 2-hydroxyphytanoyl-CoA lyase. Thiamin deficiency results in Wernike-Korsakof Syndrome (WKS) due to neurological disorder and wet beriberi, a potentially fatal cardiovascular disease. Mouse TPK associates as a dimer revealed by previous solved crystallographic structures. In this study, we report mouse TPK complexed with TPP-Mg2+ and thiamin −Mg2+, respectively, in a new crystal form. In these two structures, four mouse TPK molecules were found in each asymmetric unit. Although we cannot rule out this tetramer form can be an artifact from crystal packing, mouse TPK tetramer has a more closed ATP binding pocket and has the potential to provide specific interactions between mouse TPK and ATP compared with the previous dimeric structure and is likely to be an active form.
Thiamin pyrophosphokinase (TPK); crystal structure; TPP-Mg2+; thiamin-Mg2+; protein oligomerization; dimer; tetramer
Thiamin pyrophosphokinase (TPK) transfers a pyrophosphate group from ATP to the hydroxyl group of thiamin and produces thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP). TPP is the cofactor of metabolically important enzymes such as pyruvate dehydrogenase, α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase, branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase, transketolase and 2-hydroxyphytanoyl-CoA lyase. Thiamin deficiency results in Wernike-Korsakof Syndrome (WKS) due to neurological disorder and wet beriberi, a potentially fatal cardiovascular disease. Mouse TPK associates as a dimer revealed by previous solved crystallographic structures. In this study, we report mouse TPK complexed with TPP-Mg2+ and thiamin -Mg2+, respectively, in a new crystal form. In these two structures, four mouse TPK molecules were found in each asymmetric unit. Although we cannot rule out this tetramer form can be an artifact from crystal packing, mouse TPK tetramer has a more closed ATP binding pocket and has the potential to provide specific interactions between mouse TPK and ATP compared with the previous dimeric structure and is likely to be an active form.
Thiamin pyrophosphokinase (TPK); crystal structure; TPP-Mg2+; thiamin-Mg2+; protein oligomerization; dimer; tetramer
In approximately one billion people, a point mutation inactivates a key detoxifying enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2). This mitochondrial enzyme metabolizes toxic biogenic and environmental aldehydes, including the endogenously produced 4-hydroxynonenal (4HNE) and the environmental pollutant, acrolein. ALDH2 also bioactivates nitroglycerin, but it is best known for its role in ethanol metabolism. The accumulation of acetaldehyde following the consumption of even a single alcoholic beverage leads to the Asian Alcohol-induced Flushing Syndrome in ALDH2*2 homozygotes. The ALDH2*2 allele is semi-dominant and heterozygotic individuals exhibit a similar, but not as severe phenotype. We recently identified a small molecule, Alda-1, which activates wild-type ALDH2 and restores near wild-type activity to ALDH2*2. The structures of Alda-1 bound to ALDH2 and ALDH2*2 reveal how Alda-1 activates the wild-type enzyme and how it restores the activity of ALDH2*2 by acting as a structural chaperone.
N-arachidonoyl ethanolamide or anandamide is an endocannabinoid found in most tissues where it acts as an important signaling mediator in a number of physiological and pathophysiological processes. Consequently, intense effort has been focused on understanding all its biosynthetic and metabolic pathways. Herein we report human alcohol dehydrogenase-catalyzed sequential oxidation of anandamide to N-arachidonoyl glycine, a prototypical member of the class of long chain fatty acyl glycines, a new group of lipid mediators with a wide array of physiological effects. We also present a straightforward synthesis for a series of N-acyl glycinals including N-arachidonoyl glycinal, an intermediate in the alcohol dehydrogenase-catalyzed oxidation of anandamide.
N-arachidonoyl ethanolamide; anandamide; cannabinoids; cannabinoid receptors; N-arachidonoyl glycine; N-arachidonoyl glycinal; LC-MS
Methionine aminopeptidase (MetAP) is a promising target to develop novel antibiotics, because all bacteria express MetAP from a single gene that carries out the essential function of removing N-terminal methionine from nascent proteins. Divalent metal ions play a critical role in the catalysis, and there is an urgent need to define the actual metal used by MetAP in bacterial cells. By high throughput screening, we identified a novel class of catechol-containing MetAP inhibitors that display selectivity for the Fe(II)-form of MetAP. X-ray structure revealed that the inhibitor binds to MetAP at the active site with the catechol coordinating to the metal ions. Importantly, some of the inhibitors showed antibacterial activity at low micromolar concentration on Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Our data indicate that Fe(II) is the likely metal used by MetAP in the cellular environment, and MetAP inhibitors need to inhibit this metalloform of MetAP effectively to be therapeutically useful.
There is substantial interest in the development of drugs that limit the extent of ischemia-induced cardiac damage caused by myocardial infarction or by certain surgical procedures. Here an unbiased proteomic search identified mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) as an enzyme whose activation correlates with reduced ischemic heart damage in rodent models. A high-throughput screen yielded a small-molecule activator of ALDH2 (Alda-1) that, when administered to rats prior to an ischemic event, reduced infarct size by 60%, most likely through its inhibitory effect on the formation of cytotoxic aldehydes. In vitro, Alda-1 was a particularly effective activator of ALDH2*2, an inactive mutant form of the enzyme that is found in 40% of East Asian populations. Thus, pharmacologic enhancement of ALDH2 activity may be useful for patients with wildtype or mutant ALDH2 subjected to cardiac ischemia, such as during coronary bypass surgery. (140/140 words)
Glycogenin initiates glycogen synthesis in an autocatalytic reaction in which individual glucose residues are covalently linked to Tyrosine 194 in order to form a short priming chain of glucose residues that is a substrate for glycogen synthase which, combined with the branching enzyme, catalyzes the bulk synthesis of glycogen. We sought to develop a new enzymatic assay to better characterize both the chemical and enzymatic characteristics of this unusual reaction. By directly detecting the reaction products using electrospray mass spectrometry this procedure permits both the visualization of the intact individual reaction species produced as a function of time and quantitation of the levels of each of species. The quantitation of the reaction agrees well with previous measurements of both catalytic rate and the change in rate as a function of average glucosylation. The results from this assay provide new insight into the mechanism by which glycogenin catalyzes the initiation reaction.
Methionine aminopeptidase is a potential target of future antibacterial and anticancer drugs. Structural analysis of complexes of the enzyme with its inhibitors provides valuable information for structure-based drug design efforts.
Five new X-ray structures of such enzyme-inhibitor complexes were obtained. Analysis of these and other three similar structures reveals the adaptability of a surface-exposed loop bearing Y62, H63, G64 and Y65 (the YHGY loop) that is an integral part of the substrate and inhibitor binding pocket. This adaptability is important for accommodating inhibitors with variations in size. When compared with the human isozymes, this loop either becomes buried in the human type I enzyme due to an N-terminal extension that covers its position or is replaced by a unique insert in the human type II enzyme.
The adaptability of the YHGY loop in E. coli methionine aminopeptidase, and likely in other bacterial methionine aminopeptidases, enables the enzyme active pocket to accommodate inhibitors of differing size. The differences in this adaptable loop between the bacterial and human methionine aminopeptidases is a structural feature that can be exploited to design inhibitors of bacterial methionine aminopeptidases as therapeutic agents with minimal inhibition of the corresponding human enzymes.
The common ALDH2*2 polymorphism is associated with impaired ethanol metabolism and decreased efficacy of nitroglycerin treatment. These physiological effects are due to the substitution of Lys for Glu 487 that reduces the kcat for these processes and increases the KM for NAD+, as compared to ALDH2. In this study, we sought to understand the nature of the interactions that give rise to the loss of structural integrity and low activity in ALDH2*2 even when complexed with coenzyme. Consequently, we have solved the crystal structure of ALDH2*2 complexed with coenzyme to 2.5 Å. We have also solved the structures of a mutated form of ALDH2 where Arg 475 is replaced by Gln (475Q). The structural and functional properties of the 475Q enzyme are intermediate between those of wild type and the ALDH2*2 enzymes. In both cases, the binding of coenzyme restores most of the structural deficits observed in the apoenzyme structures. The binding of coenzyme to the 475Q enzyme restores its structure and catalytic properties to near wild-type levels. In contrast, the disordered helix within the coenzyme binding pocket of ALDH2*2 is reordered, but the active site is only partially reordered. Consistent with the structural data, ALDH2*2 showed a concentration-dependent increase in esterase activity and nitroglycerin reductase activity upon addition of coenzyme, but the levels of activity do not approach those of the wild-type enzyme or that of the 475Q enzyme. The data presented shows that Glu 487 maintains a critical function in linking the structure of the coenzyme-binding site to that of the active site through its interactions with Arg 264 and Arg 475, and in doing so, creates the stable structural scaffold conducive to catalysis.
Gene duplication is a source of molecular innovation throughout evolution. However, even with massive amounts of genome sequence data, correlating gene duplication with speciation and other events in natural history can be difficult. This is especially true in its most interesting cases, where rapid and multiple duplications are likely to reflect adaptation to rapidly changing environments and life styles. This may be so for Class I of alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH1s), where multiple duplications occurred in primate lineages in Old and New World monkeys (OWMs and NWMs) and hominoids.
To build a preferred model for the natural history of ADH1s, we determined the sequences of nine new ADH1 genes, finding for the first time multiple paralogs in various prosimians (lemurs, strepsirhines). Database mining then identified novel ADH1 paralogs in both macaque (an OWM) and marmoset (a NWM). These were used with the previously identified human paralogs to resolve controversies relating to dates of duplication and gene conversion in the ADH1 family. Central to these controversies are differences in the topologies of trees generated from exonic (coding) sequences and intronic sequences.
We provide evidence that gene conversions are the primary source of difference, using molecular clock dating of duplications and analyses of microinsertions and deletions (micro-indels). The tree topology inferred from intron sequences appear to more correctly represent the natural history of ADH1s, with the ADH1 paralogs in platyrrhines (NWMs) and catarrhines (OWMs and hominoids) having arisen by duplications shortly predating the divergence of OWMs and NWMs. We also conclude that paralogs in lemurs arose independently. Finally, we identify errors in database interpretation as the source of controversies concerning gene conversion. These analyses provide a model for the natural history of ADH1s that posits four ADH1 paralogs in the ancestor of Catarrhine and Platyrrhine primates, followed by the loss of an ADH1 paralog in the human lineage.