(R)-Deoxycoformycin (pentostatin), (S)-deoxycoformycin, and 8-ketodeoxycoformycin were compared as inhibitors of calf intestine adenosine deaminase. In contrast to (R)-deoxycoformycin, which had been demonstrated as a tight-binding inhibitor with a dissociation constant of 2.5 × 10-12 M [Agarwal, R. P., Spector, T., & Parks, R. E., Jr. (1977) Biochem. Pharmacol. 26, 359-367], (S)-deoxycoformycin and 8-ketodeoxycoformycin are slope-linear competitive inhibitors with respect to adenosine. The kinetic constants are 33 μM for inhibition by (S)-deoxycoformycin, 43 μM. for 8-ketodeoxycoformycin, and 16 μM for the Km for adenosine. The stereochemistry of carbon 8 of the diazepine ring therefore causes a (1.3 × 107)-fold change in the affinity for the enzyme which is specific for the R configuration. This difference is attributed to an induced conformational change which cannot be initiated by the S isomer or the 8-keto analogue of (R)-deoxycoformycin. The studies were complicated by the need to remove traces of tight-binding inhibitor(s) from (S)-deoxycoformycin, since as little as 0.001% of the R isomer causes significant inhibition. The R and S isomers of deoxycoformycin are unstable in neutral or mildly acidic aqueous solutions. Isomerization of the secondary hydroxyl at carbon 8 of the diazepine ring is one of the reactions, resulting in S to R and R to S conversions for deoxycoformycins. Opening of the aglycon is also a major reaction. The tight-binding inhibitor generated from (S)-deoxycoformycin was identified as (R)-deoxycoformycin by high-pressure liquid chromatography, spectroscopy, circular dichroism, and chemical criteria. The enzyme did not catalyze epimerization of (S)- or (R)-deoxycoformycins. Dialysis of (S)-deoxycoformycin against excess enzyme provided an efficient method for removing (R)-deoxycoformycin or other tight-binding inhibitors. This technique provides a general solution for removing traces of tight-binding inhibitors from larger quantities of weaker inhibitors.
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