Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Medicinal Chemistry

First Advisor

Dr. Kevin A. Reynolds


Tuberculosis emerged from its grave to be one of the deadliest diseases of the present time after recently developing a synergy with AIDS. A fatty acid condensing enzyme-mtFabH has been proposed to connect the key processes involved in biosynthesis of mycolic acids, an important component of mycobacterial cell wall. It condenses long acyl Coenzymes A (CoA; up to C20CoA) with malonyl Acyl Carrier Protein (ACP) to form the elongated β-ketoacyl-ACP which further undergoes rounds of elongation to form mero-mycolate branch of mature mycolic acids. Owing to its proposed central position in mycolic acid synthesis, mtFabH has attracted considerable attention as a good anti-mycobacterial target.In this study, we utilized important biochemical tools such as site directed mutagenesis, mass spectrometry and X-ray crystallography to address some of the key unanswered questions regarding the intricate workings of mtFabH. We solved the first co-crystal structure of substrate C12CoA with mtFabH and further analyzed the substrate specificity of this acylation step. This structure depicts the mode of acyl-CoA binding in mtFabH channels; and its comparison with the parallel E.Coli-acetyl CoA structure provides important similarities and differences in substrate binding in these two FabH enzymes. It also posed an important question about the trajectory of long acyl chain CoA into the deep and "seemingly closed" substrate binding pocket of mtFabH. By utilizing disulfide-based inhibitors, we showed that large conformational changes are necessary to facilitate ligand trafficking in mtFabH while the high catalytic turnover rate of the enzyme is maintained. We also proposed the most likely location of the involved loop.A much faster and less cumbersome assay for mtFabH was also developed and it was utilized to characterize a series of inhibitors. This assay utilizes the commercially available radioactive malonyl-CoA in lieu of malonyl-ACP, the physiological substrate, and thus can serve as ACP independent assay for mtFabH.These studies further our understanding of the biochemistry of mtFabH, which along with the faster assay could be helpful in designing potent mtFabH inhibitors as anti-tubercular agents in the future.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008