Biochemistry and Pharmacology - Research Publications

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    Glutathione transferase P1-1 as an arsenic drug-sequestering enzyme
    Parker, LJ ; Bocedi, A ; Ascher, DB ; Aitken, JB ; Harris, HH ; Lo Bello, M ; Ricci, G ; Morton, CJ ; Parker, MW (WILEY, 2017-02-01)
    Arsenic-based compounds are paradoxically both poisons and drugs. Glutathione transferase (GSTP1-1) is a major factor in resistance to such drugs. Here we describe using crystallography, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, mutagenesis, mass spectrometry, and kinetic studies how GSTP1-1 recognizes the drug phenylarsine oxide (PAO). In conditions of cellular stress where glutathione (GSH) levels are low, PAO crosslinks C47 to C101 of the opposing monomer, a distance of 19.9 Å, and causes a dramatic widening of the dimer interface by approximately 10 Å. The GSH conjugate of PAO, which forms rapidly in cancerous cells, is a potent inhibitor (Ki  = 90 nM) and binds as a di-GSH complex in the active site forming part of a continuous network of interactions from one active site to the other. In summary, GSTP1-1 can detoxify arsenic-based drugs by sequestration at the active site and at the dimer interface, in situations where there is a plentiful supply of GSH, and at the reactive cysteines in conditions of low GSH.
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    Potent hepatitis C inhibitors bind directly to NS5A and reduce its affinity for RNA
    Ascher, DB ; Wielens, J ; Nero, TL ; Doughty, L ; Morton, CJ ; Parker, MW (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2014-04-23)
    Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection affects more than 170 million people. The high genetic variability of HCV and the rapid development of drug-resistant strains are driving the urgent search for new direct-acting antiviral agents. A new class of agents has recently been developed that are believed to target the HCV protein NS5A although precisely where they interact and how they affect function is unknown. Here we describe an in vitro assay based on microscale thermophoresis and demonstrate that two clinically relevant inhibitors bind tightly to NS5A domain 1 and inhibit RNA binding. Conversely, RNA binding inhibits compound binding. The compounds bind more weakly to known resistance mutants L31V and Y93H. The compounds do not affect NS5A dimerisation. We propose that current NS5A inhibitors act by favouring a dimeric structure of NS5A that does not bind RNA.