In the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase (PaBADH) may play the dual role of assimilating carbon and nitrogen from choline or choline precursors--abundant at infection sites--and producing glycine betaine, which protects the bacterium against the high-osmolality stress prevalent in the infected tissues. This tetrameric enzyme contains four cysteine residues per subunit and is a potential drug target. In our search for specific inhibitors, we mutated the catalytic Cys286 to alanine and chemically modified the recombinant wild-type and the four Cys-->Ala single mutants with thiol reagents. The small methyl-methanethiosulfonate inactivated the enzymes without affecting their stability while the bulkier dithionitrobenzoic acid (DTNB) and bis[diethylthiocarbamyl] disulfide (disulfiram) induced enzyme dissociation--at 23 degrees C--and irreversible aggregation--at 37 degrees C. Of the four Cys-->Ala mutants only C286A retained its tetrameric structure after DTNB or disulfiram treatments, suggesting that steric constraints arising upon the covalent attachment of a bulky group to C286 resulted in distortion of the backbone configuration in the active site region followed by a severe decrease in enzyme stability. Since neither NAD(P)H nor betaine aldehyde prevented disulfiram-induced PaBADH inactivation or aggregation, and reduced glutathione was unable to restore the activity of the modified enzyme, we propose that disulfiram could be a useful drug to combat infection by P. aeruginosa.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Initial attempts to express a choline oxidase from Arthrobacter pascens (APChO-syn) in Escherichia coli starting from a synthetic gene only led to inactive protein. However, activity was regained by the systematic exchange of individual segments of the gene with segments from a choline oxidase-encoding gene from Arthrobacter globiformis yielding a functional chimeric enzyme. Next, a sequence alignment of the exchanged segment with other choline oxidases revealed a mutation in the APChO-syn, showing that residue 200 was a threonine instead of an asparagine, which is, thus, crucial for confering enzyme activity and, hence, provides an explanation for the initial lack of activity. The active recombinant APChO-syn-T200N variant was biochemically characterized showing an optimum at pH 8.0 and at 37 degrees C. Furthermore, the substrate specificity was examined using N,N-dimethylethanolamine, N-methylethanolamine and 3,3-dimethyl-1-butanol.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pharmaceuticals are typically found in very low concentrations in the aquatic environment. Accordingly, environmental effects clearly assigned to residual drugs are consistent with high affinity interactions with conserved targets in affected wildlife species rather than with a general toxic effect. Thus, evolutionarily well-conserved targets in a given species are associated with an increased risk. In this study orthologs for 1318 human drug targets were predicted in 16 species of which several are relevant for ecotoxicity testing. The conservation of different functional categories of targets was also analyzed. Zebrafish had orthologs to 86% of the drug targets while only 61% were conserved in Daphnia and 35% in green alga. The predicted presence and absence of orthologs agrees well with published experimental data on the potential for specific drug target interaction in various species. Based on the conservation of targets we propose that aquatic environmental risk assessments for human drugs should always include comprehensive studies on aquatic vertebrates. Furthermore, individual targets, especially enzymes, are well conserved suggesting that tests on evolutionarily distant organisms would be highly relevant for certain drugs. We propose that the results can guide environmental risk assessments by improving the possibilities to identify species sensitive to certain types of pharmaceuticals or to other contaminants that act through well defined mechanisms of action. Moreover, we suggest that the results can be used to interpret the relevance of existing ecotoxicity data.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the NAD(P)(+)-dependent betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase (PaBADH) may play the dual role of assimilating carbon and nitrogen from choline or choline precursors--abundant at infection sites--and producing glycine betaine and NADPH, potentially protective against the high-osmolarity and oxidative stresses prevalent in the infected tissues. Disruption of the PaBADH gene negatively affects the growth of bacteria, suggesting that this enzyme could be a target for antibiotic design. PaBADH is one of the few ALDHs that efficiently use NADP(+) and one of the even fewer that require K(+) ions for stability. Crystals of PaBADH were obtained under aerobic conditions in the presence of 2-mercaptoethanol, glycerol, NADP(+) and K(+) ions. The three-dimensional structure was determined at 2.1-A resolution. The catalytic cysteine (C286, corresponding to C302 of ALDH2) is oxidized to sulfenic acid or forms a mixed disulfide with 2-mercaptoethanol. The glutamyl residue involved in the deacylation step (E252, corresponding to E268 of ALDH2) is in two conformations, suggesting a proton relay system formed by two well-conserved residues (E464 and K162, corresponding to E476 and K178, respectively, of ALDH2) that connects E252 with the bulk water. In some active sites, a bound glycerol molecule mimics the thiohemiacetal intermediate; its hydroxyl oxygen is hydrogen bonded to the nitrogen of the amide groups of the side chain of the conserved N153 (N169 of ALDH2) and those of the main chain of C286, which form the "oxyanion hole." The nicotinamide moiety of the nucleotide is not observed in the crystal, and the adenine moiety binds in the usual way. A salt bridge between E179 (E195 of ALDH2) and R40 (E53 of ALDH2) moves the carboxylate group of the former away from the 2'-phosphate of the NADP(+), thus avoiding steric clashes and/or electrostatic repulsion between the two groups. Finally, the crystal shows two K(+) binding sites per subunit. One is in an intrasubunit cavity that we found to be present in all known ALDH structures. The other--not described before for any ALDH but most likely present in most of them--is located in between the dimeric unit, helping structure a region involved in coenzyme binding and catalysis. This may explain the effects of K(+) ions on the activity and stability of PaBADH.
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