Sarah J Thackray

University of Leicester, Leicester, ENG, United Kingdom

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Publications (8)53.48 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Heme dioxygenases catalyze the oxidation of L-tryptophan to N-formylkynurenine (NFK), the first and rate-limiting step in tryptophan catabolism. Although recent progress has been made on early stages in the mechanism, there is currently no experimental data on the mechanism of product (NFK) formation. In this work, we have used mass spectrometry to examine product formation in a number of dioxygenases. In addition to NFK formation (m/z = 237), the data identify a species (m/z = 221) that is consistent with insertion of a single atom of oxygen into the substrate during O(2)-driven turnover. The fragmentation pattern for this m/z = 221 species is consistent with a cyclic amino acetal structure; independent chemical synthesis of the 3a-hydroxypyrroloindole-2-carboxylic acid compound is in agreement with this assignment. Labeling experiments with (18)O(2) confirm the origin of the oxygen atom as arising from O(2)-dependent turnover. These data suggest that the dioxygenases use a ring-opening mechanism during NFK formation, rather than Criegee or dioxetane mechanisms as previously proposed.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 09/2011; 133(40):16251-7. · 11.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As members of the family of heme-dependent enzymes, the heme dioxygenases are differentiated by virtue of their ability to catalyze the oxidation of l-tryptophan to N-formylkynurenine, the first and rate-limiting step in tryptophan catabolism. In the past several years, there have been a number of important developments that have meant that established proposals for the reaction mechanism in the heme dioxygenases have required reassessment. This focused review presents a summary of these recent advances, written from a structural and mechanistic perspective. It attempts to present answers to some of the long-standing questions, to highlight as yet unresolved issues, and to explore the similarities and differences of other well-known catalytic heme enzymes such as the cytochromes P450, NO synthase, and peroxidases.
    Biochemistry 03/2011; 50(14). · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have applied cryoreduction/EPR/ENDOR techniques to characterize the active-site structure of the ferrous-oxy complexes of human (hIDO) and Shewanella oneidensis (sIDO) indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenases, Xanthomonas campestris (XcTDO) tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase, and the H55S variant of XcTDO in the absence and in the presence of the substrate L-Trp and a substrate analogue, L-Me-Trp. The results reveal the presence of multiple conformations of the binary ferrous-oxy species of the IDOs. In more populated conformers, most likely a water molecule is within hydrogen-bonding distance of the bound ligand, which favors protonation of a cryogenerated ferric peroxy species at 77 K. In contrast to the binary complexes, cryoreduction of all of the studied ternary [enzyme-O(2)-Trp] dioxygenase complexes generates a ferric peroxy heme species with very similar EPR and (1)H ENDOR spectra in which protonation of the basic peroxy ligand does not occur at 77 K. Parallel studies with L-Me-Trp, in which the proton of the indole nitrogen is replaced with a methyl group, eliminate the possibility that the indole NH group of the substrate acts as a hydrogen bond donor to the bound O(2), and we suggest instead that the ammonium group of the substrate hydrogen-bonds to the dioxygen ligand. The present data show that substrate binding, primarily through this H-bond, causes the bound dioxygen to adopt a new conformation, which presumably is oriented for insertion of O(2) into the C(2)-C(3) double bond of the substrate. This substrate interaction further helps control the reactivity of the heme-bound dioxygen by "shielding" it from water.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 03/2010; 132(15):5494-500. · 11.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO) are heme enzymes that catalyze the O(2)-dependent oxidation of L-tryptophan to N-formyl-kynurenine. Previous proposals for the mechanism of this reaction have suggested that deprotonation of the indole NH group, either by an active-site base or by oxygen bound to the heme iron, as the initial step. In this work, we have examined the activity of 1-Me-L-Trp with three different heme dioxygenases and their site-directed variants. We find, in contrast to previous work, that 1-Me-L-Trp is a substrate for the heme dioxygenase enzymes. These observations suggest that deprotonation of the indole N(1) is not essential for catalysis, and an alternative reaction mechanism, based on the known chemistry of indoles, is presented.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 05/2009; 131(12):4186-7. · 11.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The haem proteins TDO (tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase) and IDO (indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase) are specific and powerful oxidation catalysts that insert one molecule of dioxygen into L-tryptophan in the first and rate-limiting step in the kynurenine pathway. Recent crystallographic and biochemical analyses of TDO and IDO have greatly aided our understanding of the mechanisms employed by these enzymes in the binding and activation of dioxygen and tryptophan. In the present paper, we briefly discuss the function, structure and possible catalytic mechanism of these enzymes.
    Biochemical Society Transactions 01/2009; 36(Pt 6):1120-3. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO) from Xanthomonas campestris is a highly specific heme-containing enzyme from a small family of homologous enzymes, which includes indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO). The structure of wild type (WT TDO) in the catalytically active, ferrous (Fe (2+)) form and in complex with its substrate l-tryptophan ( l-Trp) was recently reported [Forouhar et al. (2007) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 104, 473-478] and revealed that histidine 55 hydrogen bonds to l-Trp, precisely positioning it in the active site and implicating it as a possible active site base. In this study the substitution of the active site residue histidine 55 by alanine and serine (H55A and H55S) provides insight into the molecular mechanism used by the enzyme to control substrate binding. We report the crystal structure of the H55A and H55S mutant forms at 2.15 and 1.90 A resolution, respectively, in binary complexes with l-Trp. These structural data, in conjunction with potentiometric and kinetic studies on both mutants, reveal that histidine 55 is not essential for turnover but greatly disfavors the mechanistically unproductive binding of l-Trp to the oxidized enzyme allowing control of catalysis. This is demonstrated by the difference in the K d values for l-Trp binding to the two oxidation states of wild-type TDO (3.8 mM oxidized, 4.1 microM reduced), H55A TDO (11.8 microM oxidized, 3.7 microM reduced), and H55S TDO (18.4 microM oxidized, 5.3 microM reduced).
    Biochemistry 10/2008; 47(40):10677-84. · 3.38 Impact Factor
  • Handbook of Metalloproteins, 09/2008; , ISBN: 9780470028636
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    ABSTRACT: Tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO) and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) constitute an important, yet relatively poorly understood, family of heme-containing enzymes. Here, we report extensive structural and biochemical studies of the Xanthomonas campestris TDO and a related protein SO4414 from Shewanella oneidensis, including the structure at 1.6-A resolution of the catalytically active, ferrous form of TDO in a binary complex with the substrate L-Trp. The carboxylate and ammonium moieties of tryptophan are recognized by electrostatic and hydrogen-bonding interactions with the enzyme and a propionate group of the heme, thus defining the L-stereospecificity. A second, possibly allosteric, L-Trp-binding site is present at the tetramer interface. The sixth coordination site of the heme-iron is vacant, providing a dioxygen-binding site that would also involve interactions with the ammonium moiety of L-Trp and the amide nitrogen of a glycine residue. The indole ring is positioned correctly for oxygenation at the C2 and C3 atoms. The active site is fully formed only in the binary complex, and biochemical experiments confirm this induced-fit behavior of the enzyme. The active site is completely devoid of water during catalysis, which is supported by our electrochemical studies showing significant stabilization of the enzyme upon substrate binding.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2007; 104(2):473-8. · 9.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

200 Citations
53.48 Total Impact Points


  • 2009–2011
    • University of Leicester
      • • Department of Biochemistry
      • • Department of Chemistry
      Leicester, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2007–2011
    • The University of Edinburgh
      • School of Chemistry
      Edinburgh, SCT, United Kingdom
  • 2008
    • Columbia University
      • Department of Biological Sciences
      New York City, NY, United States