Controlling nitric oxide (NO) overproduction : N[omega], N[omega]-dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) as a novel drug target
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Nitric oxide (NO) overproduction is correlated with numerous human diseases, such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes, inflammation and septic shock. The enzyme activities of both NO synthase (NOS) and dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase-1 (DDAH-1) promote NO production. DDAH-1 mainly colocalizes in the same tissues as the neuronal isoform of NOS and catabolizes the endogenously-produced competitive inhibitors of NOS, N[omega]-monomethyl-L-arginine (NMMA) and asymmetric N[omega], N[omega]-dimethyl-L-arginine (ADMA). Inhibition of DDAH-1 leads to elevated concentrations of NMMA and ADMA, which subsequently inhibit NOS. To better understand DDAH-1, I first characterized the catalytic mechanism of human DDAH-1, where Cys274, His173, Asp79 and Asp127 form a catalytic center. Particularly, Cys274 is an active site nucleophile and His173 plays a dual role in acid/base catalysis. I also studied an unusual mechanism for covalent inhibition of DDAH-1 by S-nitroso-L-homocysteine (HcyNO), where an N-thiosulfoximide adduct is formed at Cys274. Using a combination of site directed mutagenesis and mass spectrometry, we found that many residues that participate in catalysis also participate in HcyNO mediated inactivation. Following these studies, I then screened a small set of known NOS inhibitors as potential inhibitors of DDAH-1. The most potent of these, an alkylamidine, was selected as a scaffold for homologation. Stepwise lengthening of the alkyl substituent changes an NOS-selective inhibitor into a dual-targeted NOS/DDAH-1 inhibitor then into a DDAH-1 selective inhibitor, as seen in the inhibition constants of N5-(1-iminoethyl)-, N5-(1-iminopropyl)-, N5-(1-iminopentyl)- and N5-(1-iminohexyl)-L-ornithine for neuronal NOS (1.7, 3, 20, >1,900 [mu]M, respectively) and DDAH-1 (990, 52, 7.5, 110 [mu]M, respectively). X-ray crystal structures suggest that this selectivity is likely due to active site size differences. To rank the inhibitors' in vivo potency, we constructed a click-chemistry based activity probe to detect inhibition of DDAH-1 in live mammalian cell culture. In vivo IC50 values for representative alkylamidine based inhibitors were measured in living HEK293T cells. Future application of this probe will address the regulation of DDAH-1 activity in pathophysiological states. In summary, this work identifies a versatile scaffold for developing DDAH targeted inhibitors to control NO overproduction and provides useful biochemical tools to better understand the etiology of endothelial dysfunction.