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The N-acetyl-D-glucosaminylphosphatidylinositol De-N-acetylase of glycosylphosphatidylinositol biosynthesis is a zinc metalloenzyme

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  • Michael D. Urbaniak
  • Arthur Crossman
  • Tunhan Chang
  • Terry K. Smith
  • Daan M. F. van Aalten
  • Michael A. J. Ferguson
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>17/06/2005
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number24
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)22831-22838
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The de-N-acetylation of N-acetyl-D-glucosaminylphosphatidylinositol (GlcNAc-PI) is the second step of mammalian and trypanosomal glycosylphosphatidylinositol biosynthesis. Glycosylphosphatidylinositol biosynthesis is essential for Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African sleeping sickness, and GlcNAc-PI de-N-acetylase has previously been validated as a drug target. Inhibition of the trypanosome cell-free system and recombinant rat GlcNAc-PI de-N-acetylase by divalent metal cation chelators demonstrates that a tightly bound divalent metal cation is essential for activity. Reconstitution of metal-free GlcNAc-PI de-N-acetylase with divalent metal cations restores activity in the order Zn(2+) > Cu(2+) > Ni(2+) > Co(2+) > Mg(2+). Site-directed mutagenesis and homology modeling were used to identify active site residues and postulate a mechanism of action. The characterization of GlcNAc-PI de-N-acetylase as a zinc metalloenzyme will facilitate the rational design of anti-protozoan parasite drugs.