Characterization of asymmetric fluorogenic phosphonates as probes for developing organophosphorus hydrolases with broader stereoselectivity

Chem Biol Interact. 2008 Sep 25;175(1-3):249-54. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2008.05.036. Epub 2008 Jun 6.


Organophosphorus hydrolases (OPH) such as mammalian plama paraoxonase (PON1) detoxify asymmetric toxic organophosphorus (OP) nerve agents by preferentially hydrolyzing the less toxic P(+) optical isomer. In order to develop new OPHs with broader stereoselectivity we have prepared a series of asymmetric fluorogenic organophosphonates (Flu-OPs). Such Flu-OPs may serve as molecular probes for screening large libraries of OP hydrolases during directed evolution. Flu-OPs were prepared as methylphosphonates (MPs) diesters containing either ethyl (E), isopropyl (I), cyclohexyl (C) or pinacolyl (P) groups that are structural congeners of the nerve agents VX, sarin, cyclosarin and soman, respectively. The second ester bond was formed with fluorescent moieties that are either 3-cyano-4-methyl-7-hydroxy coumarin (MeCyC) or 1,3-dichloro-7-hydroxy 9,9-dimethyl-9H-acridin-2-one (DDAO). To further characterize the Flu-OPs as surrogates of their respective nerve agents, we have studied the reactivation of Flu-OP-inhibited AChE using 2-PAM and toxogonin (TOX). AChE was 90-95% inhibited by all Flu-OPs (0.36-0.9(M) and then was reactivated by either 2-PAM or TOX. TOX caused a more rapid reactivation than 2-PAM with the following rank order; EMP>IMP>CMP. TOX was also shown to be a better reactivator than 2-PAM for AChE inhibited by the nerve agents VX and cyclosarin. PMP-AChE could not be reactivated by either TOX or 2-PAM, similarly to aging of PMP-AChE formed by inhibition with soman. Racemic CMP-MeCyC was used for screening two new PON1 variants from a neutral library of PON1. These multiple mutation variants include replacement of active site amino acid residues. Neither mutation in these new variants appeared in PON1 variants previously discovered by directed evolution using symmetric Flu-OP. Detoxification rate of cylcosarin by these new PON1 variants was rather slow indicating the need to further screen PON1 clones using optically active Flu-OPs. Therefore, we have separated enzymatically the P(-) enantiomer of CMP-MeCyC and determined its 98% purity using chiral HPLC.

MeSH terms

  • Aryldialkylphosphatase / metabolism*
  • Isomerism
  • Molecular Probes*
  • Organophosphonates / chemistry*


  • Molecular Probes
  • Organophosphonates
  • Aryldialkylphosphatase