Guanosine 5′-triphosphate (GTP) cyclohydrolase-I (GCYH-I) catalyzes the first step in folic acid biosynthesis in bacteria and plants, biopterin biosynthesis in mammals, and the biosynthesis of 7-deazaguanosine-modified tRNA nucleosides in bacteria and archaea. The type IB GCYH (GCYH-IB) is a prokaryotic-specific enzyme found in many pathogens. GCYH-IB is structurally distinct from the canonical type IA GCYH involved in biopterin biosynthesis in humans and animals, and thus is of interest as a potential antibacterial drug target. We report kinetic and inhibition data of Neisseria gonorrhoeae GCYH-IB and two high-resolution crystal structures of the enzyme; one in complex with the reaction intermediate analog and competitive inhibitor 8-oxoguanosine 5′-triphosphate (8-oxo-GTP), and one with a tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane molecule bound in the active site and mimicking another reaction intermediate. Comparison with the type IA enzyme bound to 8-oxo-GTP (guanosine 5′-triphosphate) reveals an inverted mode of binding of the inhibitor ribosyl moiety and, together with site-directed mutagenesis data, shows that the two enzymes utilize different strategies for catalysis. Notably, the inhibitor interacts with a conserved active-site Cys149, and this residue is S-nitrosylated in the structures. This is the first structural characterization of a biologically S-nitrosylated bacterial protein. Mutagenesis and biochemical analyses demonstrate that Cys149 is essential for the cyclohydrolase reaction, and S-nitrosylation maintains enzyme activity, suggesting a potential role of the S-nitrosothiol in catalysis.

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