Opportunistic fungal pathogens such as Cryptococcus neoformans are a growing cause of morbidity and mortality among immunocompromised populations worldwide. To address the current paucity of antifungal therapeutic agents, further research into fungalspecific drug targets is required. Adenylosuccinate synthetase (AdSS) is a crucial enzyme in the adeosine triphosphate (ATP) biosynthetic pathway, catalyzing the formation of adenylosuccinate from inosine monophosphate and aspartate. We have investigated the potential of this enzyme as an antifungal drug target, finding that loss of function results in adenine auxotrophy in C. neoformans, as well as complete loss of virulence in a murine model. Cryptococcal AdSS was expressed and purified in Escherichia coli and the enzyme's crystal structure determined, the first example of a structure of this enzyme from fungi. Together with enzyme kinetic studies, this structural information enabled comparison of the fungal enzyme with the human orthologue and revealed species-specific differences potentially exploitable via rational drug design. These results validate AdSS as a promising antifungal drug target and lay a foundation for future in silico and in vitro screens for novel antifungal compounds.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||ACS Infectious Diseases|
|State||Published - Aug 9 2016|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
National Health and Medical Research Council, Grant APP1049716.
© 2016 American Chemical Society.
- Cryptococcus Neoformans
- Molecular Genetics
- Target Verification
- X-Ray Crystallography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases