Structures of γ-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Aminotransferase, a Pyridoxal 5′-Phosphate, and [2Fe-2S] Cluster-containing Enzyme, Complexed with γ-Ethynyl-GABA and with the Antiepilepsy Drug Vigabatrin

Paola Storici, Daniela De Biase, Francesco Bossa, Stefano Bruno, Andrea Mozzarelli, Caroline Peneff, Richard B. Silverman*, Tilman Schirmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations

Abstract

γ-Aminobutyric acid aminotransferase (GABA-AT) is a pyridoxal 5′-phosphate-dependent enzyme responsible for the degradation of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. GABA-AT is a validated target for antiepilepsy drugs because its selective inhibition raises GABA concentrations in brain. The antiepilepsy drug, γ-vinyl-GABA (vigabatrin) has been investigated in the past by various biochemical methods and resulted in several proposals for its mechanisms of inactivation. In this study we solved and compared the crystal structures of pig liver GABA-AT in its native form (to 2.3-Å resolution) and in complex with vigabatrin as well as with the close analogue y-ethynyl-GABA (to 2.3 and 2.8 Å, respectively). Both inactivators form a covalent ternary adduct with the active site Lys-329 and the pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP) cofactor. The crystal structures provide direct support for specific inactivation mechanisms proposed earlier on the basis of radio-labeling experiments. The reactivity of GABA-AT crystals with the two GABA analogues was also investigated by polarized absorption microspectrophotometry. The spectral data are discussed in relation to the proposed mechanism. Intriguingly, all three structures revealed a [2Fe-2S] cluster of yet unknown function at the center of the dimeric molecule in the vicinity of the PLP cofactors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-373
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume279
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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