The intracellular pathogen Toxoplasma gondii is a purine auxotroph that relies on purine salvage for proliferation. We have optimized T. gondii purine nucleoside phosphorylase (TgPNP) stability and crystallized TgPNP with phosphate and immucillin-H, a transition-state analogue that has high affinity for the enzyme. Immucillin-H bound to TgPNP with a dissociation constant of 370 pM, the highest affinity of 11 immucillins selected to probe the catalytic site. The specificity for transition-state analogues indicated an early dissociative transition state for TgPNP. Compared to Plasmodium falciparum PNP, large substituents surrounding the 5′-hydroxyl group of inhibitors demonstrate reduced capacity for TgPNP inhibition. Catalytic discrimination against large 5′ groups is consistent with the inability of TgPNP to catalyze the phosphorolysis of 5′-methylthioinosine to hypoxanthine. In contrast to mammalian PNP, the 2′-hydroxyl group is crucial for inhibitor binding in the catalytic site of TgPNP. This first crystal structure of TgPNP describes the basis for discrimination against 5′-methylthioinosine and similarly 5′-hydroxy-substituted immucillins; structural differences reflect the unique adaptations of purine salvage pathways of Apicomplexa.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology