Human malaria parasite orotate phosphoribosyltransferase: functional expression, characterization of kinetic reaction mechanism and inhibition profile.Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2004 Apr; 134(2):245-55.MB
Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of the most lethal form of human malaria, relies on de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis. A gene encoding orotate phosphoribosyltransferase (OPRT), the fifth enzyme of the de novo pathway catalyzing formation of orotidine 5'-monophosphate (OMP) and pyrophosphate (PP(i)) from 5-phosphoribosyl-1-pyrophosphate (PRPP) and orotate, was identified from P. falciparum (pfOPRT). The deduced amino acid sequence for pfOPRT was compared with OPRTs from other organisms and found to be most similar to that of Escherichia coli. The catalytic residues and consensus sequences for substrate binding in the enzyme were conserved among other organisms. The pfOPRT was exceptional in that it contained a unique insertion of 20 amino acids and an amino-terminal extension of 66 amino acids, making the longest amino acid sequence (281 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of 33kDa). The cDNA of the pfOPRT gene was cloned, sequenced and functionally expressed in soluble form. The recombinant pfOPRT was purified from the E. coli lysate by two steps, nickel metal-affinity and gel-filtration chromatography. From 1l E. coli culture, 1.2-1.5mg of pure pfOPRT was obtained. SDS-PAGE revealed that the pfOPRT had a molecular mass of 33kDa and analytical gel-filtration chromatography showed that the enzyme activity eluted at approximately 67kDa. Using dimethyl suberimidate to cross-link neighboring subunits of the pfOPRT, it was confirmed that the native enzyme exists in a dimeric form. The steady state kinetics of initial velocity and product inhibition studies indicate that the enzyme pfOPRT follows a random sequential kinetic mechanism. Compounds aimed at the pfOPRT nexus may act against the parasite through at least two mechanisms: by directly inhibiting the enzyme activity, or be processed to an inhibitor of thymidylate synthase. This study provides a working system with which to investigate new antimalarial agents targeted against P. falciparum OPRT.