Crystal structure to 1.7 Å of the Escherichia coli pyrimidine nucleoside hydrolase yeiK, a novel candidate for cancer gene therapy

Barbara Giabbai, Massimo Degano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Enzymes with nucleoside hydrolase (NH) activity are crucial for salvaging nucleic acid components in purine auxotrophic protozoan parasites, but are also present in prokaryotes and higher eukaryotes. Here we analyze the distribution of genes encoding for putative NH proteins and characterize the yeiK gene product from Escherichia coli as a pyrimidine-specific NH. The crystal structure of YeiK to 1.7 Å defines the structural basis for its substrate specificity and identifies residues involved in the catalytic mechanism that differ from both nonspecific and purine-specific NHs. Large differences in the tetrameric quaternary structure compared to nonspecific protozoan NHs are brought forth by minor differences in the interacting surfaces. The first structural and functional characterization of a nonparasitic, pyrimidine nucleoside-specific NH suggests a possible role for these enzymes in the metabolism of tRNA nucleosides. The high catalytic efficiency of YeiK toward 5-fluorouridine could be exploited for suicide gene therapy in cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-749
Number of pages11
JournalStructure
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Structural Biology

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