Molecule of the Month: Tetrahydrobiopterin Biosynthesis
Tetrahydrobiopterin plays an essential role in the production of aromatic amino acids, neurotransmitters and nitric oxide.
Building a Cofactor
Regenerating the Cofactor
Exploring the Structure
Sepiapterin Reductase (PDB entries 1sep and 4j7u)
A recent crystallographic analysis revealed the structural basis for side effects caused by sulfa drugs. These drugs revolutionized medicine in the 1930s, being one of the first effective antibiotics for fighting bacterial infections. However, they show some side effects with the nervous system when used at high doses. A recent structure (PDB entry 4j7u ), revealed that the drugs bind to sepiapterin reductase, blocking its action and ultimately blocking the production of neurotransmitters. To explore the structure of a sulfa drug bound to this enzyme, as well as the structure of the enzyme with its intended substrate (PDB entry 1sep ), click the image for an interactive JSmol.
Topics for Further Discussion
- To see tetrahydrobiopterin in action, try searching for structures of phenylalanine hydroxylase, tyrosine hydroxylase and nitric oxide synthase.
- More information about tetrahydrobiopterin is available at the Ligand Summary page.
Related PDB-101 Resources
- Browse You and Your Health
- Browse Enzymes
- Browse Drug Action
- Browse Antimicrobial Resistance
- 4j7u: H. Haruki, M. G. Pedersen, K. I. Gorska, F. Pojer & K. Johnsson (2013) Tetrahydrobiopterin biosynthesis as an off-target of sulfa drugs. Science 340, 987-991.
- B. Thony, G. Auerbach & N. Blau (2000) Tetrahydrobiopterin biosynthesis, regeneration and functions. Biochemical Journal 347, 1-16.
- 1sep: G. Auerbach, A. Herrmann, M. Gutlich, M. Fischer, U. Jacob, A. Bacher & R. Huber (1997) The 1.25 A crystal structure of sepiapterin reductase reveals its binding mode to pterins and brain neurotransmitters. EMBO Journal 16, 7219-7230.
- 1dcp: J. D. Cronk, J. A. Endrizzi & T. Alber (1996) High-resolution structures of the bifunctional enzyme and transcriptional coactivator DCoH and its complex with a product analogue. Protein Science 5, 1963-1972.
- 1gtp: H. Nar, R. Huber, W. Meining, C. Schmid, S. Weinkauf & A. Bacher (1995) Atomic structure of GTP cyclohydrolase I. Structure 3, 459-466.
- 1gtq: H. Nar, R. Huber, C. W. Heizmann, B. Thony & D. Burgisser (1994) Three-dimensional structure of 6-pyruvoyl tetrahydropterin synthase, an enzyme involved in tetrahydrobiopterin biosynthesis. EMBO Journal 13, 1255-1262.
- 1dhr: K. I. Varughese, M. M. Skinner, J. M. Whiteley, D. A. Matthews & N. H. Xuong (1992) Crystal structure of rat liver dihydropteridine reductase. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 89, 6080-6084.
August 2015, David Goodselldoi:10.2210/rcsb_pdb/mom_2015_8