Enzyme-assisted suicide: molecular basis for the antifungal activity of 5-hydroxy-4-oxonorvaline by potent inhibition of homoserine dehydrogenase Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The structure of the antifungal drug 5-hydroxy-4-oxonorvaline (HON) in complex with its target homoserine dehydrogenase (HSD) has been determined by X-ray diffraction to 2.6 A resolution. HON shows potent in vitro and in vivo activity against various fungal pathogens despite its weak (2 mM) affinity for HSD in the steady state. The structure together with structure-activity relationship studies, mass spectrometry experiments, and spectroscopic data reveals that the molecular mechanism of antifungal action conferred by HON involves enzyme-dependent formation of a covalent adduct between C4 of the nicotinamide ring of NAD(+) and C5 of HON. Furthermore, novel interactions are involved in stabilizing the (HON*NAD)-adduct, which are not observed in the enzyme's ternary complex structure. These findings clarify the apparent paradox of the potent antifungal actions of HON given its weak steady-state inhibition characteristics.


  • Jacques, SL
  • Mirza, IA
  • Ejim, L
  • Koteva, K
  • Hughes, DW
  • Green, K
  • Kinach, R
  • Honek, JF
  • Lai, HK
  • Berghuis, AM
  • Wright, Gerard

publication date

  • October 2003