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LongText Report for: Fleming_2007_Biochemistry_46_5063

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The organophosphorus nerve agents sarin, soman, tabun, and VX exert their toxic effects by inhibiting the action of human acetylcholinesterase, a member of the serine hydrolase superfamily of enzymes. The current treatments for nerve agent exposure must be administered quickly to be effective, and they often do not eliminate long-term toxic side effects associated with organophosphate poisoning. Thus, there is significant need for effective prophylactic methods to protect at-risk personnel from nerve agent exposure, and protein-based approaches have emerged as promising candidates. We present the 2.7 A resolution crystal structures of the serine hydrolase human carboxylesterase 1 (hCE1), a broad-spectrum drug metabolism enzyme, in covalent acyl-enzyme intermediate complexes with the chemical weapons soman and tabun. The structures reveal that hCE1 binds stereoselectively to these nerve agents; for example, hCE1 appears to react preferentially with the 10(4)-fold more lethal PS stereoisomer of soman relative to the PR form. In addition, structural features of the hCE1 active site indicate that the enzyme may be resistant to dead-end organophosphate aging reactions that permanently inactivate other serine hydrolases. Taken together, these data provide important structural details toward the goal of engineering hCE1 into an organophosphate hydrolase and protein-based therapeutic for nerve agent exposure. 

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Mail to: Nicolas Lenfant, Thierry Hotelier, Yves Bourne, Pascale Marchot and Arnaud Chatonnet.
Please cite: Lenfant 2013 Nucleic.Acids.Res. or Marchot Chatonnet 2012 Prot.Pept Lett.
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