Jikun Li

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, United States

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Publications (9)80.5 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The catalytic mechanism of the enzyme IspH, involved in formation of isopentenyl diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate, was investigated by using HYSCORE spectroscopy combined with DFT. The results indicate the formation of an allyl anion bound to a HiPIP-like oxidized 4Fe-4S cluster, rather than formation of a cyclic, ferraoxetane intermediate, as has been proposed elsewhere.
    Angewandte Chemie International Edition 05/2013; · 13.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IspG is a 4Fe4S protein involved in isoprenoid biosynthesis. Most bacterial IspGs contain two domains: a TIM barrel (A) and a 4Fe4S domain (B), but in plants and malaria parasites, there is a large insert domain (A*) whose structure and function are unknown. We show that bacterial IspGs function in solution as (AB)(2) dimers and that mutations in either both A or both B domains block activity. Chimeras harboring an A-mutation in one chain and a B-mutation in the other have 50% of the activity seen in wild-type protein, because there is still one catalytically active AB domain. However, a plant IspG functions as an AA*B monomer. We propose, using computational modeling and electron microscopy, that the A* insert domain has a TIM barrel structure that interacts with the A domain. This structural arrangement enables the A and B domains to interact in a "cup and ball" manner during catalysis, just as in the bacterial systems. EPR/HYSCORE spectra of reaction intermediate, product, and inhibitor ligands bound to both two and three domain proteins are identical, indicating the same local electronic structure, and computational docking indicates these ligands bridge both A and B domains. Overall, the results are of broad general interest because they indicate the insert domain in three-domain IspGs is a second TIM barrel that plays a structural role and that the pattern of inhibition of both two and three domain proteins are the same, results that can be expected to be of use in drug design.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2012; 109(22):8558-63. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The relaxed complex scheme, a virtual-screening methodology that accounts for protein receptor flexibility, was used to identify a low-micromolar, non-bisphosphonate inhibitor of farnesyl diphosphate synthase. Serendipitously, we also found that several predicted farnesyl diphosphate synthase inhibitors were low-micromolar inhibitors of undecaprenyl diphosphate synthase. These results are of interest because farnesyl diphosphate synthase inhibitors are being pursued as both anti-infective and anticancer agents, and undecaprenyl diphosphate synthase inhibitors are antibacterial drug leads.
    Chemical Biology &amp Drug Design 06/2011; 78(3):323-32. · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IspG is a 4Fe-4S protein that carries out an essential reduction step in isoprenoid biosynthesis. Using electron-nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) and hyperfine sublevel correlation (HYSCORE) spectroscopies on labeled samples, we have specifically assigned the hyperfine interactions in a reaction intermediate. These results help clarify the nature of the reaction intermediate, supporting a direct interaction between the unique fourth Fe in the cluster and C2 and O3 of the ligand.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 06/2011; 133(22):8400-3. · 10.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IspH is a 4Fe-4S protein that carries out an essential reduction step in isoprenoid biosynthesis. Using hyperfine sublevel correlation (HYSCORE) spectroscopy, we show that pyridine inhibitors of IspH directly bind to the unique fourth Fe in the 4Fe-4S cluster, opening up new routes to inhibitor design, of interest in the context of both anti-bacterial as well as anti-malarial drug discovery.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 05/2011; 133(17):6525-8. · 10.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the results of a series of chemical, EPR, ENDOR, and HYSCORE spectroscopic investigations of the mechanism of action (and inhibition) of GcpE, E-1-hydroxy-2-methyl-but-2-enyl-4-diphosphate (HMBPP) synthase, also known as IspG, an Fe(4)S(4) cluster-containing protein. We find that the epoxide of HMBPP when reduced by GcpE generates the same transient EPR species as observed on addition of the substrate, 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol-2, 4-cyclo-diphosphate. ENDOR and HYSCORE spectra of these transient species (using (2)H, (13)C and (17)O labeled samples) indicate formation of an Fe-C-H containing organometallic intermediate, most likely a ferraoxetane. This is then rapidly reduced to a ferracyclopropane in which the HMBPP product forms an eta(2)-alkenyl pi- (or pi/sigma) complex with the 4th Fe in the Fe(4)S(4) cluster, and a similar "metallacycle" also forms between isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) and GcpE. Based on this metallacycle concept, we show that an alkyne (propargyl) diphosphate is a good (K(i) approximately 300 nM) GcpE inhibitor, and supported again by EPR and ENDOR results (a (13)C hyperfine coupling of approximately 7 MHz), as well as literature precedent, we propose that the alkyne forms another pi/sigma metallacycle, an eta(2)-alkynyl, or ferracyclopropene. Overall, the results are of broad general interest because they provide new mechanistic insights into GcpE catalysis and inhibition, with organometallic bond formation playing, in both cases, a key role.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2010; 107(25):11189-93. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have investigated the mechanism of action of Aquifex aeolicus IspH [E-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl diphosphate (HMBPP) reductase], together with its inhibition, using a combination of site-directed mutagenesis (K ( M ),V (max)), EPR and (1)H, (2)H, (13)C, (31)P, and (57)Fe-electron-nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) spectroscopy. On addition of HMBPP to an (unreactive) E126A IspH mutant, a reaction intermediate forms that has a very similar EPR spectrum to those seen previously with the HMBPP "parent" molecules, ethylene and allyl alcohol, bound to a nitrogenase FeMo cofactor. The EPR spectrum is broadened on (57)Fe labeling and there is no evidence for the formation of allyl radicals. When combined with ENDOR spectroscopy, the results indicate formation of an organometallic species with HMBPP, a pi/sigma "metallacycle" or eta (2)-alkenyl complex. The complex is poised to interact with H(+) from E126 (and H124) in reduced wt IspH, resulting in loss of water and formation of an eta (1)-allyl complex. After reduction, this forms an eta (3)-allyl pi-complex (i.e. containing an allyl anion) that on protonation (at C2 or C4) results in product formation. We find that alkyne diphosphates (such as propargyl diphosphate) are potent IspH inhibitors and likewise form metallacycle complexes, as evidenced by (1)H, (2)H, and (13)C ENDOR, where hyperfine couplings of approximately 6 MHz for (13)C and 10 MHz for (1)H, are observed. Overall, the results are of broad general interest because they provide new insights into IspH catalysis and inhibition, involving organometallic species, and may be applicable to other Fe(4)S(4)-containing proteins, such as IspG.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2010; 107(10):4522-7. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    Angewandte Chemie International Edition 02/2010; 49(6):1136-8. · 13.73 Impact Factor
  • Angewandte Chemie. 01/2009;