A new function for a common fold: the crystal structure of quinolinic acid phosphoribosyltransferase. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Quinolinic acid (QA) is a neurotoxin and has been shown to be present at high levels in the central nervous system of patients with certain diseases, such as AIDS and meningitis. The enzyme quinolinic acid phosphoribosyltransferase (QAPRTase) provides the only route for QA metabolism and is also an essential step in de novo NAD biosynthesis. QAPRTase catalyzes the synthesis of nicotinic acid mononucleotide (NAMN) from QA and 5-phosphoribosyl-1-pyrophosphate (PRPP). The structures of several phosphoribosyltransferases (PRTases) have been reported, and all have shown a similar fold of a five-strandard beta sheet surrounded by four alpha helices. A conserved sequence motif of 13 residues is common to these 'type I' PRTases but is not observed in the QAPRTase sequence, suggestive of a different fold for this enzyme. RESULTS: The crystal structure of QAPRTase from Salmonella typhimurium has been determined with bound QA to 2.8 A resolution, and with bound NAMN to 3.0 A resolution. Most significantly, the enzyme shows a completely novel fold for a PRTase enzyme comprising a two-domain structure: a mixed alpha/beta N-terminal domain and an alpha/beta barrel-like domain containing seven beta strands. The active site is located at the C-terminal ends of the beta strands of the alpha/beta barrel, and is bordered by the N-terminal domain of the second subunit of the dimer. The active site is largely composed of a number of conserved charged residues that appear to be important for substrate binding and catalysis. CONCLUSIONS: The seven-stranded alpha/beta-barrel domain of QAPRTase is very similar in structure to the eight-stranded alpha/beta-barrel enzymes. The structure shows a phosphate-binding site that appears to be conserved among many alpha/beta-barrel enzymes including indole-3-glycerol phosphate synthase and flavocytochrome b2. The new fold observed here demonstrates that the PRTase enzymes have evolved their similar chemistry from at least two completely different protein architectures.

published proceedings

  • Structure

author list (cited authors)

  • Eads, J. C., Ozturk, D., Wexler, T. B., Grubmeyer, C., & Sacchettini, J. C.

citation count

  • 95

complete list of authors

  • Eads, JC||Ozturk, D||Wexler, TB||Grubmeyer, C||Sacchettini, JC

publication date

  • January 1997