Leflunomide: mode of action in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. (1/21)

Leflunomide is a selective inhibitor of de novo pyrimidine synthesis. In phase II and III clinical trials of active rheumatoid arthritis, leflunomide was shown to improve primary and secondary outcome measures with a satisfactory safety profile. The active metabolite of leflunomide, A77 1726, at low, therapeutically applicable doses, reversibly inhibits dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), the rate limiting step in the de novo synthesis of pyrimidines. Unlike other cells, activated lymphocytes expand their pyrimidine pool by approximately eightfold during proliferation; purine pools are increased only twofold. To meet this demand, lymphocytes must use both salvage and de novo synthesis pathways. Thus the inhibition of DHODH by A77 1726 prevents lymphocytes from accumulating sufficient pyrimidines to support DNA synthesis. At higher doses, A77 1726 inhibits tyrosine kinases responsible for early T cell and B cell signalling in the G(0)/G(1) phase of the cell cycle. Because the immunoregulatory effects of A77 1726 occur at doses that inhibit DHODH but not tyrosine kinases, the interruption of de novo pyrimidine synthesis may be the primary mode of action. Recent evidence suggests that the observed anti-inflammatory effects of A77 1726 may relate to its ability to suppress interleukin 1 and tumour necrosis factor alpha selectively over their inhibitors in T lymphocyte/monocyte contact activation. A77 1726 has also been shown to suppress the activation of nuclear factor kappaB, a potent mediator of inflammation when stimulated by inflammatory agents. Continuing research indicates that A77 1726 may downregulate the glycosylation of adhesion molecules, effectively reducing cell-cell contact activation during inflammation.  (+info)

Functional analysis of the pyrimidine de novo synthesis pathway in solanaceous species. (2/21)

Pyrimidines are particularly important in dividing tissues as building blocks for nucleic acids, but they are equally important for many biochemical processes, including sucrose and cell wall polysaccharide metabolism. In recent years, the molecular organization of nucleotide biosynthesis in plants has been analyzed. Here, we present a functional analysis of the pyrimidine de novo synthesis pathway. Each step in the pathway was investigated using transgenic plants with reduced expression of the corresponding gene to identify controlling steps and gain insights into the phenotypic and metabolic consequences. Inhibition of expression of 80% based on steady-state mRNA level did not lead to visible phenotypes. Stepwise reduction of protein abundance of Asp transcarbamoylase or dihydro orotase resulted in a corresponding inhibition of growth. This was not accompanied by pleiotropic effects or by changes in the developmental program. A more detailed metabolite analysis revealed slightly different responses in roots and shoots of plants with decreased abundance of proteins involved in pyrimidine de novo synthesis. Whereas in leaves the nucleotide and amino acid levels were changed only in the very strong inhibited plants, the roots show a transient increase of these metabolites in intermediate plants followed by a decrease in the strong inhibited plants. Growth analysis revealed that elongation rates and number of organs per plant were reduced, without large changes in the average cell size. It is concluded that reduced pyrimidine de novo synthesis is compensated for by reduction in growth rates, and the remaining nucleotide pools are sufficient for running basic metabolic processes.  (+info)

Effects of chaotropic agents versus detergents on dihydroorotate dehydrogenase. (3/21)

As chaotropic salts are generally believed to affect water structure in a manner which increases lipophilicity of water, they may seem to be capable of substituting for detergents in the solubilization of particulate enzyme. Although solubilization either by detergents or by chaotropic salts has been demonstrated with several membrane proteins, the effects these agents have on the properties and activity of an enzyme may be quite different. This is illustrated by the effects on mammalian mitochondrial dihydroorotate dehydrogenase. Stability of the solubilized enzymic activity is dependnet on the presence of a detergent and maximum enzymic activity is observed at the critical micelle concentration of the detergent. Addition of low concentrations of various anions of the chaotropic series further enhances activity while higher concentrations of these anions, although increasing solubility of the enzyme, irreversibly inhibit catalysis.  (+info)

Role of the purine repressor in the regulation of pyrimidine gene expression in Escherichia coli K-12. (4/21)

The pyrC and pyrD genes of Escherichia coli K-12 encode the pyrimidine biosynthetic enzymes dihydroorotase and dihydroorotate dehydrogenase, respectively. A highly conserved sequence in the promoter regions of these two genes is similar to the pur operator, which is the binding site for the purine repressor (PurR). In this study, we examined the role of PurR in the regulation of pyrC and pyrD expression. Our results show that pyrC and pyrD expression was repressed approximately twofold in cells grown in the presence of adenine [corrected] through a mechanism requiring PurR. A mutation, designated pyrCp926, which alters a 6-base-pair region within the conserved sequence in the pyrC promoter eliminated PurR-mediated repression of pyrC expression. This result indicates that PurR binds to the pyrC (and presumably to the pyrD) conserved sequence and inhibits transcriptional initiation. We also demonstrated that the pyrCp926 mutation had no effect on pyrimidine-mediated regulation of pyrC expression, indicating that pyrimidine and purine effectors act through independent mechanisms to control the expression of the pyrC and pyrD genes.  (+info)

Gene orders in the upstream of 16S rRNA genes divide genera of the family Halobacteriaceae into two groups. (5/21)


In vivo inhibition of the pyrimidine de novo enzyme dihydroorotic acid dehydrogenase by brequinar sodium (DUP-785; NSC 368390) in mice and patients. (6/21)

Little is known about the in vivo effects of inhibition of the mitochondrial pyrimidine de novo synthesis enzyme dihydroorotic acid dehydrogenase (DHO-DH). In mice a new inhibitor of DHO-DH, Brequinar sodium (DUP-785, NSC 368390) depleted the plasma uridine concentration to 40% within 2 h, followed by a small rebound after 7-9 days. The drug was subsequently evaluated in a Phase I clinical trial, during which it was possible to follow its biochemical effects in 24 patients (27 courses). In addition to the measurement of plasma uridine concentrations, we also measured in lymphocytes of 9 patients (10 courses) the duration of DHO-DH inhibition. Brequinar sodium was administered every 3 weeks as an i.v. infusion at dose levels of 15-2250 mg/m2. The biochemical effects were studied following the first administration of the drug. In sonicated extracts of lymphocytes from 7 healthy volunteers the activity of DHO-DH varied from 2.0 to 3.9 nmol/h per 10(6) cells, while in the lymphocytes of 9 patients obtained immediately before treatment this value was between 0.5 and 4.8 nmol/h per 10(6) cells. Within 15 min of drug administration DHO-DH activity was not detectable and was still low up to 1 week later. Duration of the inhibition appeared to be related to the extent of clinical toxicity, e.g., myelosuppression, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and mucositis. Severe lymphopenia was observed in patients receiving Brequinar sodium at the maximum tolerated dose. At dose levels of greater than or equal to 600 mg/m2, uridine depletion (40-85%) was observed between 6 h and 4 days, followed by a rebound of 160-350% after 4-7 days. The extent of the depletion and of the accompanying rebound of uridine levels and the extent and duration of DHO-DH inhibition in the individual patients could be partially associated with drug toxicity in these patients. This is the first report describing biological effects of DHO-DH inhibition in humans in relation to the degree and duration of inhibition of this enzyme.  (+info)

Synthesis and antiproliferative activity of threo-5-fluoro-L-dihydroorotate. (7/21)

Fluorinated compounds play an important role in enzymology as well as clinical medicine. Based on the stereochemical preferences of dihydroorotate oxidase and enzymes that use fluoroaspartate, it was anticipated that threo-5-fluoro-L-dihydroorotate (t-FDHO) would have the properties of an antimetabolite. Thus, t-FDHO was synthesized via the reduction of 5-fluoroorotate using NADH and dihydroorotate dehydrogenase that was free of dihydroorotase. When the product was purified and studied by high field proton and carbon 13 NMR, the fluorine, the five carbons, and all the nonexchangeable protons were readily observed. Confirmation of threo configuration was obtained by examining the vicinal coupling constants between the substituents on carbon 5 and carbon 6 of the newly synthesized compound. Additionally, t-FDHO could be reoxidized to 5-fluoroorotate in the presence of dihydroorotate dehydrogenase and NAD+. Treatment of t-FDHO with dihydroorotase generated N-carbamyl-threo-3-fluoro-L-aspartate (CTF-ASP) which was also purified and characterized by NMR. The antiproliferative activity of t-FDHO was determined against a diploid human fibrosarcoma cell line (HT-1080). Fifty microM t-FDHO caused 50% inhibition of HT-1080 cell proliferation. During the 48-h toxicity study, extracellular t-FDHO underwent significant hydrolysis to CTF-ASP. Further extracellular degradation to fluoroaspartate was not seen. The antiproliferative activity of t-FDHO was not due to extracellular degradation since CTF-ASP itself was essentially nontoxic.  (+info)

Glutamine-dependent carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase and other enzyme activities related to the pyrimidine pathway in spleen of Squalus acanthias (spiny dogfish). (8/21)

The first two steps of urea synthesis in liver of marine elasmobranchs involve formation of glutamine from ammonia and of carbamoyl phosphate from glutamine, catalysed by glutamine synthetase and carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase, respectively [Anderson & Casey (1984) J. Biol. Chem. 259, 456-462]; both of these enzymes are localized exclusively in the mitochondrial matrix. The objective of this study was to establish the enzymology of carbamoyl phosphate formation and utilization for pyrimidine nucleotide biosynthesis in Squalus acanthias (spiny dogfish), a representative elasmobranch. Aspartate carbamoyltransferase could not be detected in liver of dogfish. Spleen extracts, however, had glutamine-dependent carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase, aspartate carbamoyltransferase, dihydro-orotase, and glutamine synthetase activities, all localized in the cytosol; dihydro-orotate dehydrogenase, orotate phosphoribosyltransferase, and orotidine-5'-decarboxylase activities were also present. Except for glutamine synthetase, the levels of all activities were very low. The carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase activity is inhibited by UTP and is activated by 5-phosphoribosyl 1-pyrophosphate. The first three enzyme activities of the pyrimidine pathway were eluted in distinctly different positions during gel filtration chromatography under a number of different conditions; although complete proteolysis of inter-domain regions of a multifunctional complex during extraction cannot be excluded, the evidence suggests that in dogfish, in contrast to mammalian species, these three enzymes of the pyrimidine pathway exist as individual polypeptide chains. These results: (1) establish that dogfish express two different glutamine-dependent carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase activities, (2) confirm the report [Smith, Ritter & Campbell (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 198-202] that dogfish express two different glutamine synthetases, and (3) provide indirect evidence that glutamine may not be available in liver for biosynthetic reactions other than urea formation.  (+info)