Catalytic features of the botulinum neurotoxin A light chain revealed by high resolution structure of an inhibitory peptide complex.
ABSTRACT The Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin serotype A light chain (BoNT/A-LC) is a Zn(II)-dependent metalloprotease that blocks the release of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction by cleaving SNAP-25, one of the SNARE proteins required for exocytosis. Because of the potential for use of the toxin in bioterrorism and the increasingly widespread application of the toxin in the medical field, there is significant interest in the development of small-molecule inhibitors of the metalloprotease. Efforts to design such inhibitors have not benefited from knowledge of how peptides bind to the active site since the enzyme-peptide structures available previously either were not occupied in the vicinity of the catalytic Zn(II) ion or did not represent the product of SNAP-25 substrate cleavage. Herein we report the 1.4 A-resolution X-ray crystal structure of a complex between the BoNT/A-LC and the inhibitory peptide N-Ac-CRATKML, the first structure of the light chain with an inhibitory peptide bound at the catalytic Zn(II) ion. The peptide is bound with the Cys S gamma atom coordinating the metal ion. Surprisingly, the cysteine sulfur is oxidized to the sulfenic acid form. Given the unstable nature of this species in solution, is it likely that oxidation occurs on the enzyme. In addition to the peptide-bound structure, we report two structures of the unliganded light chain with and without the Zn(II) cofactor bound at 1.25 and 1.20 A resolution, respectively. The two structures are nearly identical, confirming that the Zn(II) ion plays a purely catalytic role. Additionally, the structure of the Zn(II)-bound uncomplexed enzyme allows identification of the catalytic water molecule and a second water molecule that occupies the same position as the peptidic oxygen in the tetrahedral intermediate. This observation suggests that the enzyme active site is prearranged to stabilize the tetrahedral intermediate of the protease reaction.
Article: Potent new small-molecule inhibitor of botulinum neurotoxin serotype A endopeptidase developed by synthesis-based computer-aided molecular design.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Botulinum neurotoxin serotype A (BoNTA) causes a life-threatening neuroparalytic disease known as botulism. Current treatment for post exposure of BoNTA uses antibodies that are effective in neutralizing the extracellular toxin to prevent further intoxication but generally cannot rescue already intoxicated neurons. Effective small-molecule inhibitors of BoNTA endopeptidase (BoNTAe) are desirable because such inhibitors potentially can neutralize the intracellular BoNTA and offer complementary treatment for botulism. Previously we reported a serotype-selective, small-molecule BoNTAe inhibitor with a K(i) (app) value of 3.8+/-0.8 microM. This inhibitor was developed by lead identification using virtual screening followed by computer-aided optimization of a lead with an IC(50) value of 100 microM. However, it was difficult to further improve the lead from micromolar to even high nanomolar potency due to the unusually large enzyme-substrate interface of BoNTAe. The enzyme-substrate interface area of 4,840 A(2) for BoNTAe is about four times larger than the typical protein-protein interface area of 750-1,500 A(2). Inhibitors must carry several functional groups to block the unusually large interface of BoNTAe, and syntheses of such inhibitors are therefore time-consuming and expensive. Herein we report the development of a serotype-selective, small-molecule, and competitive inhibitor of BoNTAe with a K(i) value of 760+/-170 nM using synthesis-based computer-aided molecular design (SBCAMD). This new approach accounts the practicality and efficiency of inhibitor synthesis in addition to binding affinity and selectivity. We also report a three-dimensional model of BoNTAe in complex with the new inhibitor and the dynamics of the complex predicted by multiple molecular dynamics simulations, and discuss further structural optimization to achieve better in vivo efficacy in neutralizing BoNTA than those of our early micromolar leads. This work provides new insight into structural modification of known small-molecule BoNTAe inhibitors. It also demonstrates that SBCAMD is capable of improving potency of an inhibitor lead by nearly one order of magnitude, even for BoNTAe as one of the most challenging protein targets. The results are insightful for developing effective small-molecule inhibitors of protein targets with large active sites.PLoS ONE 01/2009; 4(11):e7730. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Small molecules showing significant protection of mice against botulinum neurotoxin serotype A.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Botulinum neurotoxin serotype A (BoNTA) causes a life-threatening neuroparalytic disease known as botulism that could afflict large, unprotected populations if the toxin were employed in an act of bioterrorism. Current post-exposure therapy is limited to symptomatic treatment or passive immunization that is effective for treating infant botulism at a cost of US $45,300 per treatment regimen. Antibodies can neutralize the extracellular but not the intracellular BoNTA. Moreover, antibody production, storage, and administration in a mass casualty scenario pose logistical challenges. Alternatively, small-molecule inhibitors of BoNTA endopeptidase (BoNTAe) are sought to antagonize the extracellular or intracellular toxin. While several such molecules reportedly demonstrated efficacy in protecting cells against BoNTA, there is scant information to show that small molecules can significantly protect mammals against BoNTA. Herein we report the development of effective small-molecules BoNTAe inhibitors with promising in vivo pharmacokinetics. One such molecule has an in vivo half-life of 6.5 hours and is devoid of obvious sign of toxicity. Pre-treatment with this molecule at 2 mg/kg protected 100% and 70% of treated mice against BoNTA at 5 times of its median-lethal dose during the periods of 2 and 4 half-lives of the inhibitor, respectively. In contrast, 40% and 0% of untreated mice survived during the respective periods. Similar levels of protection were also observed with two other small molecules. These results demonstrate that small molecules can significantly protect mice against BoNTA and support the pursuit of small-molecule antagonists as a cost-effective alternative or as an adjunct to passive immunity for treating botulism.PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(4):e10129. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Clostridial neurotoxins: mechanism of SNARE cleavage and outlook on potential substrate specificity reengineering.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The clostridial neurotoxin family consists of tetanus neurotoxin and seven distinct botulinum neurotoxins which cause the diseases tetanus and botulism. The extreme potency of these toxins primarily relies not only on their ability to specifically enter motoneurons but also on the activity their catalytic domains display inside presynaptic motoneuronal terminals. Subsequent to neurotoxin binding and endocytosis the catalytic domains become translocated across endosomal membranes and proteolyze unique peptide bonds of one of three soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein attachment receptors (SNAREs), vesicle associated membrane protein/synaptobrevin, synaptosome associated protein of 25 kDa, or syntaxin. As these substrate proteins are core components of the vesicular membrane fusion apparatus, cleavage of any of the substrate molecules results in the blockade of neurotransmitter release. This review summarizes the present knowledge about the molecular basis of the specific substrate recognition and cleavage mechanism and assesses the feasibility of reengineering catalytic domains to hydrolyze non-substrate members of the three SNARE families in order to expand the therapeutic application of botulinum neurotoxins.Toxins. 04/2010; 2(4):665-82.