The mechanism of antifungal action of (S)-2-amino-4-oxo-5-hydroxypentanoic acid, RI-331: the inhibition of homoserine dehydrogenase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1990 Apr 30;168(2):837-43. doi: 10.1016/0006-291x(90)92397-i.


We have explored the mechanism by which an antifungal antibiotic, (S)-2-amino-4-oxo-5-hydroxypentanoic acid, RI-331, preferentially inhibits protein biosynthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, by inhibiting the biosynthesis of the aspartate family of amino acids, methionine, isoleucine and threonine. This inhibition was effected by inhibiting the biosynthesis of their common intermediate precursor homoserine. The target enzyme of RI-331 was homoserine dehydrogenase (EC. which is involved in converting aspartate semialdehyde to homoserine in the pathway from aspartate to homoserine. The enzyme is lacking in animals. So the antibiotic is selectively toxic to prototrophic fungi.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / biosynthesis*
  • Aminolevulinic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Aminolevulinic Acid / pharmacology
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Aspartate-Semialdehyde Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Homoserine / metabolism
  • Homoserine Dehydrogenase / biosynthesis*
  • Kinetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / drug effects
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Homoserine
  • 2-amino-5-hydroxy-4-oxopentanoic acid
  • Aminolevulinic Acid
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • Homoserine Dehydrogenase
  • Aspartate-Semialdehyde Dehydrogenase