Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 11369858
Protein Sci. 2001 Jun;10(6):1195-205
We have overexpressed in Escherichia coli the thymidylate kinase of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TMPKmt). Biochemical and physico-chemical characterization of TMPKmt revealed distinct structural and catalytic features when compared to its counterpart from yeast (TMPKy) or E. coli (TMPKec). Denaturation of the dimeric TMPKmt by urea under equilibrium conditions was studied by intrinsic fluorescence and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. It suggested a three-state unfolding mechanism with a monomeric intermediate. On the other hand, 3′-azido-3′-deoxythymidine monophosphate (AZT-MP), which is substrate for TMPKy and TMPKec acts as a potent competitive inhibitor for TMPKMT: We propose a structural model of TMPKmt in which the overall fold described in TMPKy and TMPKec is conserved and slight differences at the level of primary and 3D-structure explain strong variations in the phosphorylation rate of substrate analogs. According to the model, we synthesized dTMP analogs acting either as substrates or specific inhibitors of TMPKMT: This approach based on slight structural differences among similar proteins could be applied to other essential enzymes for the design of new species-specific antimicrobials.