The reactivation of the homodimeric triosephosphate isomerases (TIMs) from Trypanosoma brucei, T. cruzi, Leishmania mexicana and humans was determined after their denaturation with guanidine hydrochloride. In the range of 2–32 µg of T. brucei TIM per ml and 0.2–5 µg of the other enzymes per ml, the rate and extent of TIM reactivation depended on protein concentration, indicating that at these protein concentrations, the rate-limiting step of reactivation is monomer association and not monomer folding. The rate of monomer association was more than one order of magnitude lower in the T. brucei enzyme than in the other three enzymes. Suramin is a drug of choice in the treatment of sleeping sickness, but its mechanism of action is not known. At micromolar concentrations, Suramin inhibited the reactivation of the four enzymes, but the extent of inhibition by Suramin decreased with increasing protein concentration as consequence of a diminution of the life time of the folded monomer. Since the life time of the monomer of T. brucei TIM is longer than that of the other enzymes, Suramin is a more effective inhibitor of the reactivation of TIM from T. brucei, particularly at monomer concentrations above 1 µg of protein per ml (monomer concentration approx. 37 nM). Compounds that are structurally related to Suramin also inhibit TIM reactivation; their effect was about five times more pronounced in the enzyme from T. brucei than in human TIM.

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