Identification of an evolutionary conserved structural loop that is required for the enzymatic and biological function of tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase

Michels, H., Seinstra, R. I., Uitdehaag, J. C. M., Koopman, M., van Faassen, M., Martineau, C. N., Kema, I. P., Buijsman, R. & Nollen, E. A. A., 20-Dec-2016, In : Scientific Reports. 6, 8 p., 39199.

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The enzyme TDO (tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase; TDO-2 in Caenorhabditis elegans) is a potential therapeutic target to cancer but is also thought to regulate proteotoxic events seen in the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. To better understand its function and develop specific compounds that target TDO we need to understand the structure of this molecule. In C. elegans we compared multiple different CRISPR/Cas9-induced tdo-2 deletion mutants and identified a motif of three amino acids (PLD) that is required for the enzymatic conversion of tryptophan to N-formylkynurenine. Loss of TDO-2' s enzymatic activity in PDL deletion mutants was accompanied by an increase in motility during aging and a prolonged lifespan, which is in line with the previously observed phenotypes induced by a knockdown of the full enzyme. Comparison of sequence structures suggests that blocking this motif might interfere with haem binding, which is essential for the enzyme's activity. The fact that these three residues are situated in an evolutionary conserved structural loop of the enzyme suggests that the findings can be translated to humans. The identification of this specific loop region in TDO-2-essential for its catalytic function-will aid in the design of novel inhibitors to treat diseases in which the TDO enzyme is overexpressed or hyperactive.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39199
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 20-Dec-2016



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