DNA topoisomerases are ubiquitous group of enzymes altering the topology of DNA by concerted breakage and rejoining of the phosphodiester backbone of DNA. The enzymes are classified based on the pattern of DNA cleavage. Type IA enzymes found in all bacteria nick the DNA and attach themselves covalently to the 5′ side of the nick during the first transesterification reaction. Most of the information on this group of enzymes comes from studies with E. coli topoisomerase I and III. Members of type IA group are single subunit Zn++ metalloenzymes recognizing single stranded DNA without high degree of sequence specificity during relaxation reaction of negatively super coiled DNA. So far no inhibitors are known for this group of enzymes inspite of their important role in maintaining homeostasis of DNA topology. Molecular characterization of DNA topoisomerase I from mycobacteria has revealed some of the important features of type IA enzymes hitherto unknown and provide scope for identifying novel inhibitors. The present review describes the recent developments in the area summarizing the distinctive features of mycobacterial topoisomerase I. The enzyme has several properties not shared by either type IA or IB enzymes with respect to DNA binding, recognition, sequence specificity and interaction pattern. The physiological basis of the unusual features is discussed. The unique properties described would aid in developing the enzyme as a target molecule in pharmaceutical design. In addition, the findings lead to address some fundamental questions on the intracellular role of topoisomerase I in the biology of mycobacteria which are one of the most formidable group of pathogenic organisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery