Structural study of the complex stereoselectivity of human butyrylcholinesterase for the neurotoxic V-agents.
ABSTRACT: Nerve agents are chiral organophosphate compounds (OPs) that exert their acute toxicity by phosphorylating the catalytic serine of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). The inhibited cholinesterases can be reactivated using oximes, but a spontaneous time-dependent process called aging alters the adduct, leading to resistance toward oxime reactivation. Human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) functions as a bioscavenger, protecting the cholinergic system against OPs. The stereoselectivity of BChE is an important parameter for its efficiency at scavenging the most toxic OPs enantiomer for AChE. Crystals of BChE inhibited in solution or in cristallo with racemic V-agents (VX, Russian VX, and Chinese VX) systematically show the formation of the P(S) adduct. In this configuration, no catalysis of aging seems possible as confirmed by the three-dimensional structures of the three conjugates incubated over a period exceeding a week. Crystals of BChE soaked in optically pure VX(R)-(+) and VX(S)-(-) solutions lead to the formation of the P(S) and P(R) adduct, respectively. These structural data support an in-line phosphonylation mechanism. Additionally, they show that BChE reacts with VX(R)-(+) in the presence of racemic mixture of V-agents, at odds with earlier kinetic results showing a moderate higher inhibition rate for VX(S)-(-). These combined results suggest that the simultaneous presence of both enantiomers alters the enzyme stereoselectivity. In summary, the three-dimensional data show that BChE reacts preferentially with P(R) enantiomer of V-agents and does not age, in complete contrast to AChE, which is selectively inhibited by the P(S) enantiomer and ages.
Project description:The series of symmetrical and unsymmetrical isoquinolinium-5-carbaldoximes was designed and prepared for cholinesterase reactivation purposes. The novel compounds were evaluated for intrinsic acetylcholinesterase (AChE) or butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) inhibition, when the majority of novel compounds resulted with high inhibition of both enzymes and only weak inhibitors were selected for reactivation experiments on human AChE or BChE inhibited by sarin, VX, or paraoxon. The AChE reactivation for all used organophosphates was found negligible if compared to the reactivation ability of obidoxime. Importantly, two compounds were found to reactivate BChE inhibited by sarin or VX better to obidoxime at human attainable concentration. One compound resulted as better reactivator of NEMP (VX surrogate)-inhibited BChE than obidoxime. The <i>in vitro</i> results were further rationalized by molecular docking studies showing future directions on designing potent BChE reactivators.
Project description:The deleterious effects of nerve agents over the enzymes acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) turned these compounds into the most dangerous chemical weapons known. Among the antidotes in use today against these agents, oximes in combination with other drugs are the only treatment with any action. HI-6 and 2-PAM are cationic oximes proved to be effective for the reactivation of AChE inhibited by the nerve agents VX and sarin (GB). However, when it comes to reactivation of AChE inside the central or peripheral nervous systems, charged molecules present low diffusion due to low penetration through the blood-brain barrier. Uncharged oximes appear as an interesting alternative to solve this problem, but the development and enhancement of more efficient uncharged oximes capable of reactivating human AChE is still necessary. Given the limitations for in vivo and in vitro experimental studies with nerve agents, modeling is an important tool that can contribute to a better understanding of factors that may affect the efficiency of uncharged oximes. In order to investigate the interaction and behavior of cationic and uncharged oximes, we performed here molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulations, and binding energies calculations of the known cationic oximes HI-6 and 2-PAM plus four uncharged oximes found in the literature, complexed with human AChE (HssACHE) conjugated with the nerve agents VX and GB. The uncharged oximes showed different behaviors, especially RS194B, which presented stability inside AChE-VX, but presented free binding energy lower than cationic oximes, suggesting that structural alterations could favor its interactions with these complexes. In contrast, HI-6 and 2-PAM showed higher affinities with more negative binding energy values and larger contribution of the amino acid Asp74, demonstrating the importance of the quaternary nitrogen to the affinity and interaction of oximes with AChE-GB and AChE-VX conjugates.
Project description:Exposure to organophosphorus compounds (OPs) may be fatal if untreated, and a clear and present danger posed by nerve agent OPs has become palpable in recent years. OPs inactivate acetylcholinesterase (AChE) by covalently modifying its catalytic serine. Inhibited AChE cannot hydrolyze the neurotransmitter acetylcholine leading to its build-up at the cholinergic synapses and creating an acute cholinergic crisis. Current antidotes, including oxime reactivators that attack the OP-AChE conjugate to free the active enzyme, are inefficient. Better reactivators are sought, but their design is hampered by a conformationally rigid portrait of AChE extracted exclusively from 100K X-ray crystallography and scarcity of structural knowledge on human AChE (hAChE). Here, we present room temperature X-ray structures of native and VX-phosphonylated hAChE with an imidazole-based oxime reactivator, RS-170B. We discovered that inhibition with VX triggers substantial conformational changes in bound RS-170B from a "nonproductive" pose (the reactive aldoxime group points away from the VX-bound serine) in the reactivator-only complex to a "semi-productive" orientation in the VX-modified complex. This observation, supported by concurrent molecular simulations, suggested that the narrow active-site gorge of hAChE may be significantly more dynamic than previously thought, allowing RS-170B to reorient inside the gorge. Furthermore, we found that small molecules can bind in the choline-binding site hindering approach to the phosphorous of VX-bound serine. Our results provide structural and mechanistic perspectives on the reactivation of OP-inhibited hAChE and demonstrate that structural studies at physiologically relevant temperatures can deliver previously overlooked insights applicable for designing next-generation antidotes.
Project description:Government-sanctioned use of nerve agents (NA) has escalated dramatically in recent years. Oxime reactivators of organophosphate (OP)-inhibited acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) serve as antidotes toward poisoning by OPNAs. The oximes used as therapeutics are quaternary compounds that cannot penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB). There remains an urgent need for the development of next generation OPNA therapeutics. We have developed two high-throughput screening (HTS) assays using a fluorogenic NA surrogate, O-ethyl methylphosphonyl O-4-methyl-3-cyano-coumarin (EMP-MeCyC). EMP-MeCyC detoxification and EMP-BChE reactivation screening campaigns of ~155,000 small molecules resulted in the identification of 33 nucleophile candidates, including non-quaternary oximes. Four of the oximes were reactivators of both Sarin- and VX-inhibited BChE and directly detoxified Sarin. One oxime also detoxified VX. The novel reactivators included a non-quaternary pyridine amidoxime, benzamidoxime, benzaldoxime and a piperidyl-ketoxime. The VX-inhibited BChE reactivation reaction rates by these novel molecules were similar to those observed with known bis-quaternary reactivators and faster than mono-quaternary pyridinium oximes. Notably, we discovered the first ketoxime reactivator of OP-ChEs and detoxifier of OPNAs. Preliminary toxicological studies demonstrated that the newly discovered non-quaternary oximes were relatively non-toxic in mice. The discovery of unique non-quaternary oximes opens the door to the design of novel therapeutics and decontamination agents following OPNA exposure.
Project description:The inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) by organophosphates (OPs) as nerve agents and pesticides compromises normal cholinergic nerve signal transduction in the peripheral and central nervous systems (CNS) leading to cholinergic crisis. The treatment comprises an antimuscarinic drug and an oxime reactivator of the inhibited enzyme. Oximes in use have quaternary nitrogens, and therefore poorly cross the brain-blood barrier. In this work, we synthesized novel uncharged thienostilbene oximes by the Wittig reaction, converted to aldehydes by Vilsmeier formylation, and transformed to the corresponding uncharged oximes in very high yields. Eight <i>trans,anti</i>- and <i>trans,syn</i>-isomers of oximes were tested as reactivators of nerve-agent-inhibited AChE and BChE. Four derivatives reactivated cyclosarin-inhibited BChE up to 70% in two hours of reactivation, and docking studies confirmed their productive interactions with the active site of cyclosarin-inhibited BChE. Based on the moderate binding affinity of both AChE and BChE for all selected oximes, and in silico evaluated ADME properties regarding lipophilicity and CNS activity, these compounds present a new class of oximes with the potential for further development of CNS-active therapeutics in OP poisoning.
Project description:The freshwater planarian Dugesia japonica has recently emerged as an animal model for developmental neurotoxicology and found to be sensitive to organophosphorus (OP) pesticides. While previous activity staining of D. japonica, which possess a discrete cholinergic nervous system, has shown acylthiocholine catalysis, it is unknown whether this is accomplished through an acetylcholinesterase (AChE), butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), or a hybrid esterase and how OP exposure affects esterase activity. Here, we show that the majority of D. japonica cholinesterase (DjChE) activity departs from conventional AChE and BChE classifications. Inhibition by classic protonable amine and quaternary reversible inhibitors (ethopropazine, donepezil, tacrine, edrophonium, BW284c51, propidium) shows that DjChE is far less sensitive to these inhibitors than human AChE, suggesting discrete differences in active center and peripheral site recognition and structures. Additionally, we find that different OPs (chlorpyrifos oxon, paraoxon, dichlorvos, diazinon oxon, malaoxon) and carbamylating agents (carbaryl, neostigmine, physostigmine, pyridostigmine) differentially inhibit DjChE activity in vitro. DjChE was most sensitive to diazinon oxon and neostigmine and least sensitive to malaoxon and carbaryl. Diazinon oxon-inhibited DjChE could be reactivated by the quaternary oxime, pralidoxime (2-PAM), and the zwitterionic oxime, RS194B, with RS194B being significantly more potent. Sodium fluoride (NaF) reactivates OP-DjChE faster than 2-PAM. As one of the most ancient true cholinesterases, DjChE provides insight into the evolution of a hybrid enzyme before the separation into distinct AChE and BChE enzymes found in higher vertebrates. The sensitivity of DjChE to OPs and capacity for reactivation validate the use of planarians for OP toxicology studies.
Project description:Both G and V type nerve agents possess a center of chirality about phosphorus. The S(p) enantiomers are generally more potent inhibitors than their R(p) counterparts toward acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE). To develop model compounds with defined centers of chirality that mimic the target nerve agent structures, we synthesized both the S(p) and the R(p) stereoisomers of two series of G type nerve agent model compounds in enantiomerically enriched form. The two series of model compounds contained identical substituents on the phosphorus as the G type agents, except that thiomethyl (CH(3)-S-) and thiocholine [(CH(3))(3)NCH(2)CH(2)-S-] groups were used to replace the traditional nerve agent leaving groups (i.e., fluoro for GB, GF, and GD and cyano for GA). Inhibition kinetic studies of the thiomethyl- and thiocholine-substituted series of nerve agent model compounds revealed that the S(p) enantiomers of both series of compounds showed greater inhibition potency toward AChE and BChE. The level of stereoselectivity, as indicated by the ratio of the bimolecular inhibition rate constants between S(p) and R(p) enantiomers, was greatest for the GF model compounds in both series. The thiocholine analogues were much more potent than the corresponding thiomethyl analogues. With the exception of the GA model compounds, both series showed greater potency against AChE than BChE. The stereoselectivity (i.e., S(p) > R(p)), enzyme selectivity, and dynamic range of inhibition potency contributed from these two series of compounds suggest that the combined application of these model compounds will provide useful research tools for understanding interactions of nerve agents with cholinesterase and other enzymes involved in nerve agent and organophosphate pharmacology. The potential of and limitations for using these model compounds in the development of biological therapeutics against nerve agent toxicity are also discussed.
Project description:Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is an essential enzyme that can be targeted by organophosphorus (OP) compounds, including nerve agents. Following exposure to OPs, AChE becomes phosphylated (inhibited) and undergoes a subsequent aging process where the OP-AChE adduct is dealkylated. The aged AChE is unable to hydrolyze acetylcholine, resulting in accumulation of the neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS) and elsewhere. Current therapeutics are only capable of reactivating inhibited AChE. There are no known therapeutic agents to reverse the aging process or treat aged AChE. Quinone methides (QMs) have been shown to alkylate phosphates under physiological conditions. In this study, a small library of novel quinone methide precursors (QMPs) has been synthesized and examined as potential alkylating agents against model nucleophiles, including a model phosphonate. Computational studies have been performed to evaluate the affinity of QMPs for the aged AChE active site, and preliminary testing with electric eel AChE has been performed.
Project description:Agricultural pesticide handlers are at an elevated risk for overexposure to organophosphate (OP) pesticides, but symptoms can be difficult to recognise, making biomarkers invaluable for diagnosis. Occupational monitoring programmes for cholinesterase depression generally rely on measuring activity of either of the two common blood cholinesterases which serve as proxy measurements for nervous-system acetylcholinesterase activity: red blood cell acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and plasma butyrylcholinesterase (BChE). These biomarkers, however, may be affected differentially by some OPs and the relationship between them has not been well characterised. We aim to determine the association between blood AChE and BChE activity levels and assess whether they produce comparable classifications of clinical cholinesterase depression among OP pesticide handlers.Using blood samples from 215 participants of the Washington State Cholinesterase Monitoring Program, we quantified changes in AChE and BChE activity from before and after exposure to OP pesticides and calculated Pearson correlation statistics for correlation of AChE and BChE changes in activity, as well as weighted ? statistics for agreement of classification of clinical cholinesterase depression based on AChE versus BChE measurements.AChE and BChE activity measurements are weakly negatively correlated in our study population. Reaching a clinical threshold for diagnosis of cholinesterase depression based on the AChE marker did not correlate with reaching clinical depression based on the BChE marker.Both AChE and BChE should be measured in monitoring programmes because they may both give potentially important but disparate classifications of clinical cholinesterase depression.
Project description:Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is a pivotal enzyme in neurotransmission. Its inhibition leads to cholinergic crises and could ultimately result in death. A related enzyme, butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), may act in the CNS as a co-regulator in terminating nerve impulses and is a natural plasma scavenger upon exposure to organophosphate (OP) nerve agents that irreversibly inhibit both enzymes. With the aim of improving reactivation of cholinesterases phosphylated by nerve agents sarin, VX, cyclosarin, and tabun, ten phenyltetrahydroisoquinoline (PIQ) aldoximes were synthesized by Huisgen 1,3 dipolar cycloaddition between alkyne- and azide-building blocks. The PIQ moiety may serve as a peripheral site anchor positioning the aldoxime moiety at the AChE active site. In terms of evaluated dissociation inhibition constants, the aldoximes could be characterized as high-affinity ligands. Nevertheless, high binding affinity of these oximes to AChE or its phosphylated conjugates did not assure rapid and selective AChE reactivation. Rather, potential reactivators of phosphylated BChE, with its enlarged acyl pocket, were identified, especially in case of cyclosarin, where the reactivation rates of the lead reactivator was 100- and 6-times that of 2-PAM and HI-6, respectively. Nevertheless, the return of the enzyme activity was affected by the nerve agent conjugated to catalytic serine, which highlights the lack of the universality of reactivators with respect to both the target enzyme and OP structure.