A Structural and Energetic Model for the Slow-Onset Inhibition of the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis enoyl-ACP Reductase InhA

ACS Chem Biol. 2014 Apr 18;9(4):986-93. doi: 10.1021/cb400896g. Epub 2014 Mar 10.


Slow-onset enzyme inhibitors are of great interest for drug discovery programs since the slow dissociation of the inhibitor from the drug-target complex results in sustained target occupancy leading to improved pharmacodynamics. However, the structural basis for slow-onset inhibition is often not fully understood, hindering the development of structure-kinetic relationships and the rational optimization of drug-target residence time. Previously we demonstrated that slow-onset inhibition of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis enoyl-ACP reductase InhA correlated with motions of a substrate-binding loop (SBL) near the active site. In the present work, X-ray crystallography and molecular dynamics simulations have been used to map the structural and energetic changes of the SBL that occur upon enzyme inhibition. Helix-6 within the SBL adopts an open conformation when the inhibitor structure or binding kinetics is substrate-like. In contrast, slow-onset inhibition results in large-scale local refolding in which helix-6 adopts a closed conformation not normally populated during substrate turnover. The open and closed conformations of helix-6 are hypothesized to represent the EI and EI* states on the two-step induced-fit reaction coordinate for enzyme inhibition. These two states were used as the end points for nudged elastic band molecular dynamics simulations resulting in two-dimensional potential energy profiles that reveal the barrier between EI and EI*, thus rationalizing the binding kinetics observed with different inhibitors. Our findings indicate that the structural basis for slow-onset kinetics can be understood once the structures of both EI and EI* have been identified, thus providing a starting point for the rational control of enzyme-inhibitor binding kinetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / chemistry
  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Computer Simulation
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / enzymology*
  • Oxidoreductases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Thermodynamics


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Oxidoreductases
  • InhA protein, Mycobacterium