N Bucurenci

Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucureşti, Bucureşti, Romania

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Publications (19)38.46 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background & objectives: Purified protein derivative (PPD) is currently the only available skin test reagent used worldwide for the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). The aim of this study was to develop a Mycobacterium tuberculosis specific skin test reagent, without false positive results due to Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination using recombinant antigens. Methods: Proteins in PPD IC-65 were analyzed by tandem mass spectrometry and compared to proteins in M. tuberculosis culture filtrate; 54 proteins were found in common. Top candidates MPT64, ESAT 6, and CFP 10 were overexpressed in Escherichia coli expression strains and purified as recombinant proteins. To formulate optimal immunodiagnostic PPD cocktails, the antigens were evaluated by skin testing guinea pigs sensitized with M. tuberculosis H37Rv and BCG. Results: For single antigens and a cocktail mixture of these antigens, best results were obtained using 3 μg/0.1 ml, equivalent to 105 TU (tuberculin units). Each animal was simultaneously tested with PPD IC-65, 2 TU/0.1 ml, as reference. Reactivity of the multi-antigen cocktail was greater than that of any single antigen. The skin test results were between 34.3 and 76.6 per cent the level of reactivity compared to that of the reference when single antigens were tested and 124 per cent the level of reactivity compared to the reference for the multi-antigen cocktail. Interpretation & conclusions: Our results showed that this specific cocktail could represent a potential candidate for a new skin diagnostic test for TB.
    The Indian Journal of Medical Research 11/2012; 136(5):799-807. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial CMP kinases are specific for CMP and dCMP, whereas the related eukaryotic NMP kinase phosphorylates CMP and UMP with similar efficiency. To explain these differences in structural terms, we investigated the contribution of four key amino acids interacting with the pyrimidine ring of CMP (Ser36, Asp132, Arg110 and Arg188) to the stability, catalysis and substrate specificity of Escherichia coli CMP kinase. In contrast to eukaryotic UMP/CMP kinases, which interact with the nucleobase via one or two water molecules, bacterial CMP kinase has a narrower NMP-binding pocket and a hydrogen-bonding network involving the pyrimidine moiety specific for the cytosine nucleobase. The side chains of Arg110 and Ser36 cannot establish hydrogen bonds with UMP, and their substitution by hydrophobic amino acids simultaneously affects the K(m) of CMP/dCMP and the k(cat) value. Substitution of Ser for Asp132 results in a moderate decrease in stability without significant changes in K(m) value for CMP and dCMP. Replacement of Arg188 with Met does not affect enzyme stability but dramatically decreases the k(cat)/K(m) ratio compared with wild-type enzyme. This effect might be explained by opening of the enzyme/nucleotide complex, so that the sugar no longer interacts with Asp185. The reaction rate for different modified CMP kinases with ATP as a variable substrate indicated that none of changes induced by these amino acid substitutions was 'propagated' to the ATP subsite. This 'modular' behavior of E. coli CMP kinase is unique in comparison with other NMP kinases.
    FEBS Journal 08/2007; 274(13):3363-73. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this work, we examined the regulation by GTP and UTP of the UMP kinases from eight bacterial species. The enzyme from Gram-positive organisms exhibited cooperative kinetics with ATP as substrate. GTP decreased this cooperativity and increased the affinity for ATP. UTP had the opposite effect, as it decreased the enzyme affinity for ATP. The nucleotide analogs 5-bromo-UTP and 5-iodo-UTP were 5-10 times stronger inhibitors than the parent compound. On the other hand, UMP kinases from the Gram-negative organisms did not show cooperativity in substrate binding and catalysis. Activation by GTP resulted mainly from the reversal of inhibition caused by excess UMP, and inhibition by UTP was accompanied by a strong increase in the apparent K(m) for UMP. Altogether, these results indicate that, depending on the bacteria considered, GTP and UTP interact with different enzyme recognition sites. In Gram-positive bacteria, GTP and UTP bind to a single site or largely overlapping sites, shifting the T R equilibrium to either the R or T form, a scenario corresponding to almost all regulatory proteins, commonly called K systems. In Gram-negative organisms, the GTP-binding site corresponds to the unique allosteric site of the Gram-positive bacteria. In contrast, UTP interacts cooperatively with a site that overlaps the catalytic center, i.e. the UMP-binding site and part of the ATP-binding site. These characteristics make UTP an original regulator of UMP kinases from Gram-negative organisms, beyond the common scheme of allosteric control.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2007; 282(10):7242-53. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Guanylate kinase is a member of the nucleoside monophosphate (NMP) kinase family, a family of enzymes that despite having a low primary structure identity share a similar fold, which consists of three structurally distinct regions termed the CORE, LID, and NMP-binding regions. Guanylate kinase (GMPK) is an essential enzyme for the biosynthesis of GTP and dGTP by catalyzing the phosphoryl transfer from ATP to (d)GMP resulting in ADP and (d)GDP. Despite the similar fold of the monomer there is an important difference between GMPKs from prokaryotes and eukaryotes: eukaryotes GMPK are monomers while prokaryotes GMPK are dimmers, tetramers or hexamers. For this reason bacterial GMPKs are possible targets for new antibacterial drugs. Finding new targets for antibacterial therapies is a prior subject in today's medical research. The purpose of this work was to characterize guanylate kinases from both gram positive and gram negative pathogenic bacteria. We started with GMPK from Enterococcus faecalis as gram positive microorganism and Pseudomonas aeruginosa as gram negative representative.
    Roumanian archives of microbiology and immunology 01/2007; 66(1-2):22-5.
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    ABSTRACT: The gene encoding Bacillus subtilis UMP kinase (pyrH/smbA) is transcribed in vivo into a functional enzyme, which represents approximately 0.1% of total soluble proteins. The specific activity of the purified enzyme under optimal conditions is 25 units.mg-1 of protein. In the absence of GTP, the activity of B. subtilis enzyme is less than 10% of its maximum activity. Only dGTP and 3'-anthraniloyl-2'-deoxyguanosine-5'-triphosphate (Ant-dGTP) can increase catalysis significantly. Binding of Ant-dGTP to B. subtilis UMP kinase increased the quantum yield of the fluorescent analogue by a factor of more than three. UTP and GTP completely displaced Ant-dGTP, whereas GMP and UMP were ineffective. UTP inhibits UMP kinase of B. subtilis with a lower affinity than that shown towards the Escherichia coli enzyme. Among nucleoside monophosphates, 5-fluoro-UMP (5F-UMP) and 6-aza-UMP were actively phosphorylated by B. subtilis UMP kinase, explaining the cytotoxicity of the corresponding nucleosides towards this bacterium. A structural model of UMP kinase, based on the conservation of the fold of carbamate kinase and N-acetylglutamate kinase (whose crystals were recently resolved), was analysed in the light of physicochemical and kinetic differences between B. subtilis and E. coli enzymes.
    European Journal of Biochemistry 09/2003; 270(15):3196-204. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial UMP kinases do not exhibit any sequence homology with other nucleoside monophosphate kinases described so far, and appear under oligomeric forms, submitted to complex regulation by nucleotides. We propose here a structural model of UMP kinase from Escherichia coli based on the conservation of the fold of carbamate kinase whose crystal structure was recently solved. Despite sequence identity of only 18% over 203 amino acids, alignment of UMP kinase from E. coli with carbamate kinase from Enterococcus faecalis by hydrophobic cluster analysis and threading suggested the conservation of the overall structure, except for a small subdomain (absent in UMP kinase). The modelled dimer suggested conservation of the dimer interface observed in carbamate kinase while interaction of UMP kinase with a monoclonal antibody (Mab 44-2) suggests a three in-plane dimer subunit arrangement. The model was analyzed in light of various modified forms of UMP kinase obtained by site-directed mutagenesis.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 06/2002; 294(1):173-9. · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial cytidine monophosphate (CMP) kinases are characterised by an insert enlarging their CMP binding domain, and by their particular substrate specificity. Thus, both CMP and 2'-deoxy-CMP (dCMP) are good phosphate acceptors for the CMP kinase from Escherichia coli (E. coli CMPK), whereas eukaryotic UMP/CMP kinases phosphorylate the deoxynucleotides with very low efficiency. Four crystal structures of E. coli CMPK complexed with nucleoside monophosphates differing in their sugar moiety were solved. Both structures with CMP or dCMP show interactions with the pentose that were not described so far. These interactions are lost with the poorer substrates AraCMP and 2',3'-dideoxy-CMP. Comparison of all four structures shows that the pentose hydroxyls are involved in ligand-induced movements of enzyme domains. It also gives a structural basis of the mechanism by which either ribose or deoxyribose can be accommodated. In parallel, for the four nucleotides the kinetic results of the wild-type enzyme and of three structure-based variants are presented. The phosphorylation rate is significantly decreased when either of the two pentose interacting residues is mutated. One of these is an arginine that is highly conserved in all known nucleoside monophosphate kinases. In contrast, the other residue, Asp185, is typical of bacterial CMP kinases. It interacts with Ser101, the only residue conserved in all CMP binding domain inserts. Mutating Ser101 reduces CMP phosphorylation only moderately, but dramatically reduces dCMP phosphorylation. This is the first experimental evidence of a catalytic role involving the characteristic insert of bacterial CMP kinases. Furthermore, this role concerns only dCMP phosphorylation, a feature of this family of enzymes.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 03/2002; 315(5):1099-110. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We identified in the genome of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi the gene encoding deoxyribokinase, deoK. Two other genes, vicinal to deoK, were determined to encode the putative deoxyribose transporter (deoP) and a repressor protein (deoQ). This locus, located between the uhpA and ilvN genes, is absent in Escherichia coli. The deoK gene inserted on a plasmid provides a selectable marker in E. coli for growth on deoxyribose-containing medium. Deoxyribokinase is a 306-amino-acid protein which exhibits about 35% identity with ribokinase from serovar Typhi, S. enterica serovar Typhimurium, or E. coli. The catalytic properties of the recombinant deoxyribokinase overproduced in E. coli correspond to those previously described for the enzyme isolated from serovar Typhimurium. From a sequence comparison between serovar Typhi deoxyribokinase and E. coli ribokinase, whose crystal structure was recently solved, we deduced that a key residue differentiating ribose and deoxyribose is Met10, which in ribokinase is replaced by Asn14. Replacement by site-directed mutagenesis of Met10 with Asn decreased the V(max) of deoxyribokinase by a factor of 2.5 and increased the K(m) for deoxyribose by a factor of 70, compared to the parent enzyme.
    Journal of Bacteriology 03/2000; 182(4):869-73. · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The wild-type TMP kinases from Escherichia coli and from a strain hypersensitive to 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine were characterized comparatively. The mutation at codon 146 causes the substitution of an alanine residue for glycine in the enzyme, which is accompanied by changes in the relative affinities for 5-Br-UMP and TMP compared to those of the wild-type TMP kinase. Plasmids carrying the wild-type tmk gene from Escherichia coli or Bacillus subtilis, but not the defective tmk gene, restored the resistance to bromodeoxyuridine of an E. coli mutant strain.
    Journal of Bacteriology 09/1998; 180(16):4291-3. · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: UMP kinase from Escherichia coli is one of the four regulatory enzymes involved in the de novo biosynthetic pathway of pyrimidine nucleotides. This homohexamer, with no counterpart in eukarya, might serve as a target for new antibacterial drugs. Although the bacterial enzyme does not show sequence similarity with any other known nucleoside monophosphate kinase, two segments between amino acids 35 to 78 and 145 to 194 exhibit 28% identity with phosphoglycerate kinase and 30% identity with aspartokinase, respectively. Based on these similarities, a number of residues of E. coli UMP kinase were selected for site-directed mutagenesis experiments. Biochemical, kinetic, and spectroscopic analysis of the modified proteins identified residues essential for catalysis (Asp146), binding of UMP (Asp174), and interaction with the allosteric effectors, GTP and UTP (Arg62 and Asp77).
    Journal of Bacteriology 03/1998; 180(3):473-7. · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: UMP-kinase from Escherichia coli, unlike the analogous enzyme from eukaryotic organisms, is an oligomeric protein subjected to complex regulatory mechanisms in which UTP and GTP act as allosteric effectors. While the enzyme has an unusually low solubility at neutral pH (< or = 0.1 mg of protein/ mL), its solubility increases markedly above pH 8 and below pH 4. Furthermore, the solubility of the bacterial UMP-kinase at neutral pH is greatly enhanced in the presence of Mg-free UTP. Thermal denaturation experiments have demonstrated that UTP also increases the stability of the protein. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and circular dichroism show that the secondary structure of the protein is the same at neutral and at alkaline pH. These data indicate that variations in enzyme solubility must be related to subtle changes in the tertiary and/or quaternary structure which modulate the exposure of hydrophobic surfaces in the protein molecule. A variant of UMP-kinase, obtained by site-directed mutagenesis (Asp159Asn), which is similar to the wild-type enzyme in its stability and kinetic properties, has a much increased water solubility (> 5 mg protein/mL) even at neutral pH. This suggests that salt bridges may be involved in the equilibrium between the soluble and aggregated forms of the wild-type enzyme, and that conformational changes induced upon binding of UTP increase the protein solubility by disrupting these salt bridges.
    Biochemistry 06/1996; 35(22):7003-11. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CMP kinase from Escherichia coli is a monomeric protein of 225 amino acid residues. The protein exhibits little overall sequence similarities with other known NMP kinases. However, residues involved in binding of substrates and/or in catalysis were found conserved, and sequence comparison suggested conservation of the global fold found in adenylate kinases or in several CMP/UMP kinases. The enzyme was purified to homogeneity, crystallized, and analyzed for its structural and catalytic properties. The crystals belong to the hexagonal space group P6(3), have unit cell parameters a = b = 82.3 A and c = 60.7 A, and diffract x-rays to a 1.9 A resolution. The bacterial enzyme exhibits a fluorescence emission spectrum with maximum at 328 nm upon excitation at 295 nm, which suggests that the single tryptophan residue (Trp30) is located in a hydrophobic environment. Substrate specificity studies showed that CMP kinase from E. coli is active with ATP, dATP, or GTP as donors and with CMP, dCMP, and arabinofuranosyl-CMP as acceptors. This is in contrast with CMP/UMP kinase from Dictyostelium discoideum, an enzyme active on CMP or UMP but much less active on the corresponding deoxynucleotides. Binding of CMP enhanced the affinity of E. coli CMP kinase for ATP or ADP, a particularity never described in this family of proteins that might explain inhibition of enzyme activity by excess of nucleoside monophosphate.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/1996; 271(5):2856-62. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The involvement of zinc ions in cell metabolic processes and the immunopathologic consequences of zinc deficiency are well known. We investigated the effect of zinc aspartate upon production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by monocytes and polymorphonuclear cells isolated from healthy subjects and patients with leukemia and rheumatoid arthritis. The cells were stimulated in vitro with serum-treated zymosan, aggregated IgG, aggregated and opsonized IgG and digitonin. Zinc concentrations of 10(-4)M do not influence the in vitro release of ROS by polymorphonuclears but moderately activate the monocytes. Following treatment with orally administered zinc aspartate, monocytes from leukemia patients reveal an increased capacity to release ROS after in vitro stimulation. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis monocytes usually produce abnormally high ROS amounts after in vitro stimulation; the treatment with zinc aspartate does not induce considerable alterations of this capacity; however a tendency to restore the normal values is manifest.
    Roumanian archives of microbiology and immunology 01/1993; 52(2):101-8.
  • Archives roumaines de pathologie expérimentales et de microbiologie 01/1986; 45(1):75-89.
  • Archives roumaines de pathologie expérimentales et de microbiologie 01/1986; 45(3-4):299-310.
  • Archives roumaines de pathologie expérimentales et de microbiologie 46(1):67-72.
  • M Crişan, C Stugren, O Gal, A Herold, N Bucurenci
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    ABSTRACT: In previous papers we revealed the immuno-restorative capacity of thymic hormones both in vitro and in vivo. This paper is concerned with the investigation in a phase I trial of the effects of a thymic extract (Imunotim) prepared in the Cantacuzino Institute, Bucharest upon patients with immunodeficiencies manifest as recurrent or persistent infections resistant to classical treatments. Twenty five testings were performed on 23 patients with secondary immunodepressions: carcinomas with immunodepressions following the acute phase of the disease or cytoreductive treatments (10 cases), allergic and autoimmune conditions (3 cases) and frequent, recurrent infections with prolonged evolution. In 73.9% of cases (17/23) after administration of Imunotim per os the immunologic parameters showed a tendency to return to normal values. In patients with low pre-therapy values the following were noticed: a remarkable increase of the number of lymphocytes from 1317.2 +/- 506.40 to 1961.1 +/- 899.11 (p < 0.01), of PMN from 1401.7 +/- 444.21 to 2651.0 +/- 755.31 (p < 0.01), of the absolute number of B lymphocytes from 192.0 +/- 79.00 to 444.8 +/- 299.75 (p < 0.05); the rise in the rate and absolute number of total T lymphocytes (628.2 +/- 192.81, 1041.0 +/- 441.84, respectively; p < 0.05), T helper (from 29.84 +/- 12.75% to 44.14 +/- 18.76%, respectively from 421.6 +/- 127.29 to 1058.7 +/- 411.05; p < 0.01 respectively p < 0.02) and the rise of the absolute number of T suppressor/cytotoxic lymphocytes from 92.8 +/- 97.11 to 368.3 +/- 368.53 (p < 0.05). In some patients with lymphocytosis and adenopathies the absolute lymphocyte number and the maturation of the lymphocyte populations and subpopulations in blood showed a decline. Individual variations could be noticed even within one and the some primary affection.
    Roumanian archives of microbiology and immunology 51(4):213-24.
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    Adriana Costache, Nadia Bucurenci, Adrian Onu
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    ABSTRACT: Cyclic AMP (cAMP), one of the most important secondary messengers, is produced by adenylate cyclase (AC) from adenosine triphosphate (ATP). AC is a widespread enzyme, being present both in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Although they have the same enzymatic activity (ATP cyclization), the structure of these proteins varies, depending on their function and the producing organism. Some pathogenic bacteria utilize these enzymes as toxins which interact with calmodulin (or another eukaryote activator), causing intense cAMP synthesis and disruption of infected cell functions. In contrast, other pathogenic bacteria benefit of augmentation of AC activity for their own function. Based on sequence analysis ofAC catalytic domain from two pathogenic bacteria (Bacillus anthracis and Bordetellapertussis) with known three-dimensional structures, a possible secondary structure for 1-255 amino acid fragment from Pseudomonas aeruginosa AC (with 80TKGFSVKGKSS90 as the ATP binding site) is proposed.
    Roumanian archives of microbiology and immunology 72(1):63-86.
  • N Bucurenci
    Roumanian archives of microbiology and immunology 51(1-2):27-32.

Publication Stats

133 Citations
38.46 Total Impact Points


  • 2012
    • Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy
      Bucureşti, Bucureşti, Romania
  • 1998–2007
    • Cantacuzino Institute
      Bucureşti, Bucureşti, Romania
    • University of Bordeaux
      Burdeos, Aquitaine, France
  • 1998–2003
    • Institut Pasteur
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 2002
    • Laboratoire d'Enzymologie et Biochimie Structurales
      Gif, Île-de-France, France