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GHMP Kinases - Structures, Mechanisms and Potential for Therapeutically Relevant Inhibition

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The GHMP kinases are a structurally related family of small molecule kinases named after four of its members - galactokinase, homoserine kinase, mevalonate kinase and phosphomevalonate kinase. The group also includes the enzymes N-acetylgalactosamine kinase, arabinose kinase, mevalonate 5-diphosphate decarboxylase, archeal shikimate kinase and 4-(cytidine 5'-diphospho)-2-c-methyl-D-erythritol kinase. In addition the group includes two members not known to be catalytically active, the Caenorhabditis elegans sex-fate determining protein XOL-1 and the Saccharomyces cerevisiae transcriptional activator Gal3p. Two catalytic mechanisms have been proposed for GHMP kinases. The structure of mevalonate kinase suggests that an aspartate residue acts as an active site base, removing a proton from the substrate to facilitate attack on the γ- phosphate of MgATP. In contrast, in homoserine kinase there is no potential catalytic base and it is proposed that catalysis is driven by transition state stabilisation. Potential chemotherapeutic interventions against GHMP kinases fall into three main categories: inhibition of galactokinase to assist suffers of galactosemia, inhibition of mevalonate kinase or mevalonate 5-diphosphate decarboxylase to reduce flux through the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway and inhibition of bacterial GHMP kinases for novel anti-microbial therapies. These are in the early stages of development, but the accumulation of structural and mechanistic data will assist future progress.

Keywords: Galactokinase; anti-microbial chemotherapy; carbohydrate metabolism; cholesterol metabolism; enzyme mechanism; galactosemia; homoserine kinase; hyperimmunoglobulinemia D syndrome (HIDS); mevalonate kinase; mevalonic aciduria

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast, UK.

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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  • Current Enzyme Inhibition aims to publish all the latest and outstanding developments in enzyme inhibition studies with regards to the mechanisms of inhibitory processes of enzymes, recognition of active sites, and the discovery of agonists and antagonists, leading to the design and development of new drugs of significant therapeutic value. Each issue contains a series of timely, in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field, covering a range of enzymes that can be exploited for drug development. Current Enzyme Inhibition is an essential journal for every pharmaceutical and medicinal chemist who wishes to have up-to-date knowledge about each and every development in the study of enzyme inhibition.

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