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Journal Articles Nature Year : 2013

Structural basis of kynurenine 3-monooxygenase inhibition


Inhibition of kynurenine 3-monooxygenase (KMO), an enzyme in the eukaryotic tryptophan catabolic pathway (i.e. kynurenine pathway), leads to amelioration of Huntington’s diseaserelevant phenotypes in yeast, fruit fly, and mouse models as well as a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease . KMO is a FAD-dependent monooxygenase, and is located in the outer mitochondrial membrane where it converts L-kynurenine to 3-hydroxykynurenine. Perturbations in the levels of kynurenine pathway metabolites have been linked to the pathogenesis of a spectrum of brain disorders , as well as cancer and several peripheral inflammatory conditions . Despite the importance of KMO as a target for neurodegenerative disease, the molecular basis of KMO inhibition by available lead compounds has remained hitherto unknown. Here we report the first crystal structure of KMO, in the free form and in complex with the tightbinding inhibitor UPF 648. UPF 648 binds close to the FAD cofactor and perturbs the local active site structure, preventing productive binding of the substrate kynurenine. Functional assays and targeted mutagenesis revealed that the active site architecture and UPF 648 binding are essentially identical in human KMO, validating the yeast KMO:UPF 648 structure as a template for structurebased drug design. This will inform the search for new KMO inhibitors that are able to cross the blood-brain barrier in targeted therapies against neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases.

Dates and versions

hal-03478336 , version 1 (13-12-2021)



Marta Amaral, Colin Levy, Derren Heyes, Pierre Lafite, Tiago Outeiro, et al.. Structural basis of kynurenine 3-monooxygenase inhibition. Nature, 2013, 496 (7445), pp.382-385. ⟨10.1038/nature12039⟩. ⟨hal-03478336⟩
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