The natural product acivicin inhibits the glutaminase activity of CTP synthetase and is a potent lead compound for drug discovery in the area of neglected tropical diseases, specifically trypanosomaisis. A 2.1 Å resolution crystal structure of the acivicin adduct with the glutaminase domain from Trypanosoma brucei CTP synthetase has been deposited in the Protein Data Bank and provides a template for structure-based approaches to design new inhibitors. However, our assessment of that data identified deficiencies in the model. We now report an improved and corrected inhibitor structure with changes to the chirality at one position, the orientation and covalent structure of the isoxazoline moiety and the location of a chloride in an oxyanion binding site that is exploited during catalysis. The model is now in agreement with established chemical principles and allows an accurate description of molecular recognition of the ligand and the mode of binding in a potentially valuable drug target.
- CTP synthetase
- structure-based drug discovery