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1.  Kinetic Modelling of GlmU Reactions – Prioritization of Reaction for Therapeutic Application 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43969.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis(Mtu), a successful pathogen, has developed resistance against the existing anti-tubercular drugs necessitating discovery of drugs with novel action. Enzymes involved in peptidoglycan biosynthesis are attractive targets for antibacterial drug discovery. The bifunctional enzyme mycobacterial GlmU (Glucosamine 1-phosphate N-acetyltransferase/ N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphate uridyltransferase) has been a target enzyme for drug discovery. Its C- and N- terminal domains catalyze acetyltransferase (rxn-1) and uridyltransferase (rxn-2) activities respectively and the final product is involved in peptidoglycan synthesis. However, the bifunctional nature of GlmU poses difficulty in deciding which function to be intervened for therapeutic advantage. Genetic analysis showed this as an essential gene but it is still unclear whether any one or both of the activities are critical for cell survival. Often enzymatic activity with suitable high-throughput assay is chosen for random screening, which may not be the appropriate biological function inhibited for maximal effect. Prediction of rate-limiting function by dynamic network analysis of reactions could be an option to identify the appropriate function. With a view to provide insights into biochemical assays with appropriate activity for inhibitor screening, kinetic modelling studies on GlmU were undertaken. Kinetic model of Mtu GlmU-catalyzed reactions was built based on the available kinetic data on Mtu and deduction from Escherichia coli data. Several model variants were constructed including coupled/decoupled, varying metabolite concentrations and presence/absence of product inhibitions. This study demonstrates that in coupled model at low metabolite concentrations, inhibition of either of the GlmU reactions cause significant decrement in the overall GlmU rate. However at higher metabolite concentrations, rxn-2 showed higher decrement. Moreover, with available intracellular concentration of the metabolites and in vivo variant of model, uncompetitive inhibition of rxn-2 caused highest decrement. Thus, at physiologically relevant metabolite concentrations, targeting uridyltranferase activity of Mtu GlmU would be a better choice for therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC3428340  PMID: 22952829
2.  A kinetic platform for in silico modeling of the metabolic dynamics in Escherichia coli 
A prerequisite for a successful design and discovery of an antibacterial drug is the identification of essential targets as well as potent inhibitors that adversely affect the survival of bacteria. In order to understand how intracellular perturbations occur due to inhibition of essential metabolic pathways, we have built, through the use of ordinary differential equations, a mathematical model of 8 major Escherichia coli pathways.
Individual in vitro enzyme kinetic parameters published in the literature were used to build the network of pathways in such a way that the flux distribution matched that reported from whole cells. Gene regulation at the transcription level as well as feedback regulation of enzyme activity was incorporated as reported in the literature. The unknown kinetic parameters were estimated by trial and error through simulations by observing network stability. Metabolites, whose biosynthetic pathways were not represented in this platform, were provided at a fixed concentration. Unutilized products were maintained at a fixed concentration by removing excess quantities from the platform. This approach enabled us to achieve steady state levels of all the metabolites in the cell. The output of various simulations correlated well with those previously published.
Such a virtual platform can be exploited for target identification through assessment of their vulnerability, desirable mode of target enzyme inhibition, and metabolite profiling to ascribe mechanism of action following a specific target inhibition. Vulnerability of targets in the biosynthetic pathway of coenzyme A was evaluated using this platform. In addition, we also report the utility of this platform in understanding the impact of a physiologically relevant carbon source, glucose versus acetate, on metabolite profiles of bacterial pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3170011  PMID: 21918631
antibacterial drug; mathematical model; kinetic platform; metabolic dynamics; Escherichia coli

Results 1-2 (2)