Monica Ilies

Drexel University, Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (8)39.41 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Arginase is a binuclear manganese metalloenzyme that hydrolyzes L-arginine to form L-ornithine and urea, and aberrant arginase activity is implicated in various diseases such as erectile dysfunction, asthma, atherosclerosis, and cerebral malaria. Accordingly, arginase inhibitors may be therapeutically useful. Continuing our efforts to expand the chemical space of arginase inhibitor design and inspired by the binding of 2-(difluoromethyl)-L-ornithine to human arginase I, we now report the first study of the binding of α,α-disubstituted amino acids to arginase. Specifically, we report the design, synthesis, and assay of racemic 2-amino-6-borono-2-methylhexanoic acid and racemic 2-amino-6-borono-2-(difluoromethyl)hexanoic acid. X-ray crystal structures of human arginase I and Plasmodium falciparum arginase complexed with these inhibitors reveal the exclusive binding of the L-stereoisomer; the additional α-substituent of each inhibitor is readily accommodated and makes new intermolecular interactions in the outer active site of each enzyme. Therefore, this work highlights a new region of the protein surface that can be targeted for additional affinity interactions, as well as the first comparative structural insights on inhibitor discrimination between a human and a parasitic arginase.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 08/2011; 54(15):5432-43. DOI:10.1021/jm200443b · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As part of our continuing search for new amino acid inhibitors of metalloenzymes, we now report the synthesis and biological evaluation of the trifluoromethylketone analogue of L-arginine, (S)-2-amino-8,8,8-trifluoro-7-oxo-octanoic acid (10). While this novel amino acid was initially designed as a potential inhibitor of human arginase I, it exhibits no measurable inhibitory activity against this enzyme. Surprisingly, however, 10 is a potent inhibitor of human histone deacetylase 8, with IC(50)=1.5 ± 0.2 μM. Additionally, 10 weakly inhibits the related bacterial enzyme, acetylpolyamine amidohydrolase, with IC(50)=110 ± 30 μM. The lack of inhibitory activity against human arginase I may result from unfavorable interactions of the bulky trifluoromethyl group of 10 in the constricted active site. Since the active site of histone deacetylase 8 is less constricted, we hypothesize that it accommodates 10 as the gem-diol, which mimics the tetrahedral intermediate and its flanking transition states in catalysis. Therefore, we suggest that 10 represents a new lead in the design of an amino acid or peptide-based inhibitor of histone deacetylases with simpler structure than previously studied trifluoromethylketones.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 08/2011; 21(19):5854-8. DOI:10.1016/j.bmcl.2011.07.100 · 2.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The 2.15 A resolution crystal structure of arginase from Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes cerebral malaria, is reported in complex with the boronic acid inhibitor 2(S)-amino-6-boronohexanoic acid (ABH) (K(d) = 11 microM). This is the first crystal structure of a parasitic arginase. Various protein constructs were explored to identify an optimally active enzyme form for inhibition and structural studies and to probe the structure and function of two polypeptide insertions unique to malarial arginase: a 74-residue low-complexity region contained in loop L2 and an 11-residue segment contained in loop L8. Structural studies indicate that the low-complexity region is largely disordered and is oriented away from the trimer interface; its deletion does not significantly compromise enzyme activity. The loop L8 insertion is located at the trimer interface and makes several intra- and intermolecular interactions important for enzyme function. In addition, we also demonstrate that arg- Plasmodium berghei sporozoites show significantly decreased liver infectivity in vivo. Therefore, inhibition of malarial arginase may serve as a possible candidate for antimalarial therapy against liver-stage infection, and ABH may serve as a lead for the development of inhibitors.
    Biochemistry 07/2010; 49(26):5600-8. DOI:10.1021/bi100390z · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alternatively activated macrophages prevent lethal intestinal pathology caused by worm ova in mice infected with the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni through mechanisms that are currently unclear. This study demonstrates that arginase I (Arg I), a major product of IL-4- and IL-13-induced alternatively activated macrophages, prevents cachexia, neutrophilia, and endotoxemia during acute schistosomiasis. Specifically, Arg I-positive macrophages promote TGF-beta production and Foxp3 expression, suppress Ag-specific T cell proliferation, and limit Th17 differentiation. S. mansoni-infected Arg I-deficient bone marrow chimeras develop a marked accumulation of worm ova within the ileum but impaired fecal egg excretion compared with infected wild-type bone marrow chimeras. Worm ova accumulation in the intestines of Arg I-deficient bone marrow chimeras was associated with intestinal hemorrhage and production of molecules associated with classical macrophage activation (increased production of IL-6, NO, and IL-12/IL-23p40), but whereas inhibition of NO synthase-2 has marginal effects, IL-12/IL-23p40 neutralization abrogates both cachexia and intestinal inflammation and reduces the number of ova within the gut. Thus, macrophage-derived Arg I protects hosts against excessive tissue injury caused by worm eggs during acute schistosomiasis by suppressing IL-12/IL-23p40 production and maintaining the Treg/Th17 balance within the intestinal mucosa.
    The Journal of Immunology 06/2010; 184(11):6438-46. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.0902009 · 5.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Arginase, a key metalloenzyme of the urea cycle that converts L-arginine into L-ornithine and urea, is presently considered a pharmaceutical target for the management of diseases associated with aberrant l-arginine homeostasis, such as asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and erectile dysfunction. We now report the design, synthesis, and evaluation of a series of 2-aminoimidazole amino acid inhibitors in which the 2-aminoimidazole moiety serves as a guanidine mimetic. These compounds represent a new class of arginase inhibitors. The most potent inhibitor identified in this study, 2-(S)-amino-5-(2-aminoimidazol-1-yl)pentanoic acid (A1P, 10), binds to human arginase I with K(d) = 2 microM and significantly attenuates airways hyperresponsiveness in a murine model of allergic airways inflammation. These findings suggest that 2-aminoimidazole amino acids represent new leads for the development of arginase inhibitors with promising pharmacological profiles.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 05/2010; 53(10):4266-76. DOI:10.1021/jm100306a · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human arginase I is a binuclear manganese metalloenzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of L-arginine to generate L-ornithine and urea. We demonstrate that N-hydroxy-L-arginine (NOHA) binds to this enzyme with K(d)=3.6 microM, and nor-N-hydroxy-L-arginine (nor-NOHA) binds with K(d)=517 nM (surface plasmon resonance) or K(d) approximately 50 nM (isothermal titration calorimetry). Crystals of human arginase I complexed with NOHA and nor-NOHA afford 2.04 and 1.55 A resolution structures, respectively, which are significantly improved in comparison with previously-determined structures of the corresponding complexes with rat arginase I. Higher resolution structures clarify the binding interactions of the inhibitors. Finally, the crystal structure of the complex with L-lysine (K(d)=13 microM) is reported at 1.90 A resolution. This structure confirms the importance of hydrogen bond interactions with inhibitor alpha-carboxylate and alpha-amino groups as key specificity determinants of amino acid recognition in the arginase active site.
    Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 02/2010; 496(2):101-8. DOI:10.1016/j.abb.2010.02.004 · 3.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is increasing evidence that upregulation of arginase contributes to impaired endothelial function in aging. In this study, we demonstrate that arginase upregulation leads to endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) uncoupling and that in vivo chronic inhibition of arginase restores nitroso-redox balance, improves endothelial function, and increases vascular compliance in old rats. Arginase activity in old rats was significantly increased compared with that shown in young rats. Old rats had significantly lower nitric oxide (NO) and higher superoxide (O2(-)) production than young. Acute inhibition of both NOS, with N(G)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester, and arginase, with 2S-amino- 6-boronohexanoic acid (ABH), significantly reduced O2(-) production in old rats but not in young. In addition, the ratio of eNOS dimer to monomer in old rats was significantly decreased compared with that shown in young rats. These results suggest that eNOS was uncoupled in old rats. Although the expression of arginase 1 and eNOS was similar in young and old rats, inducible NOS (iNOS) was significantly upregulated. Furthermore, S-nitrosylation of arginase 1 was significantly elevated in old rats. These findings support our previously published finding that iNOS nitrosylates and activates arginase 1 (Santhanam et al., Circ Res 101: 692-702, 2007). Chronic arginase inhibition in old rats preserved eNOS dimer-to-monomer ratio and significantly reduced O2(-) production and enhanced endothelial-dependent vasorelaxation to ACh. In addition, ABH significantly reduced vascular stiffness in old rats. These data indicate that iNOS-dependent S-nitrosylation of arginase 1 and the increase in arginase activity lead to eNOS uncoupling, contributing to the nitroso-redox imbalance, endothelial dysfunction, and vascular stiffness observed in vascular aging. We suggest that arginase is a viable target for therapy in age-dependent vascular stiffness.
    Journal of Applied Physiology 09/2009; 107(4):1249-57. DOI:10.1152/japplphysiol.91393.2008 · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Oxidized low-density lipoproteins increase arginase activity and reciprocally decrease endothelial NO in human aortic endothelial cells. Here, we demonstrate that vascular endothelial arginase activity is increased in atherogenic-prone apolipoprotein E-null (ApoE(-/-)) and wild-type mice fed a high cholesterol diet. In ApoE(-/-) mice, selective arginase II inhibition or deletion of the arginase II gene (Arg II(-/-) mice) prevents high-cholesterol diet-dependent decreases in vascular NO production, decreases endothelial reactive oxygen species production, restores endothelial function, and prevents oxidized low-density lipoprotein-dependent increases in vascular stiffness. Furthermore, arginase inhibition significantly decreases plaque burden. These data indicate that arginase II plays a critical role in the pathophysiology of cholesterol-mediated endothelial dysfunction and represents a novel target for therapy in atherosclerosis.
    Circulation Research 05/2008; 102(8):923-32. DOI:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.107.169573 · 11.09 Impact Factor