Mechanism-Based Inhibition of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Branched-Chain Aminotransferase by d- and l-Cycloserine

ACS Chem Biol. 2017 May 19;12(5):1235-1244. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.7b00142. Epub 2017 Mar 16.


The branched-chain aminotransferase is a pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzyme responsible for the final step in the biosynthesis of all three branched-chain amino acids, l-leucine, l-isoleucine, and l-valine, in bacteria. We have investigated the mechanism of inactivation of the branched-chain aminotransferase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MtIlvE) by d- and l-cycloserine. d-Cycloserine is currently used only in the treatment of multidrug-drug-resistant tuberculosis. Our results show a time- and concentration-dependent inactivation of MtIlvE by both isomers, with l-cycloserine being a 40-fold better inhibitor of the enzyme. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) studies revealed that l-cycloserine is a 10-fold better inhibitor of Mycobacterium tuberculosis growth than d-cycloserine. In addition, we have crystallized the MtIlvE-d-cycloserine inhibited enzyme, determining the structure to 1.7 Å. The structure of the covalent d-cycloserine-PMP adduct bound to MtIlvE reveals that the d-cycloserine ring is planar and aromatic, as previously observed for other enzyme systems. Mass spectrometry reveals that both the d-cycloserine- and l-cycloserine-PMP complexes have the same mass, and are likely to be the same aromatized, isoxazole product. However, the kinetics of formation of the MtIlvE d-cycloserine-PMP and MtIlvE l-cycloserine-PMP adducts are quite different. While the kinetics of the formation of the MtIlvE d-cycloserine-PMP complex can be fit to a single exponential, the formation of the MtIlvE l-cycloserine-PMP complex occurs in two steps. We propose a chemical mechanism for the inactivation of d- and l-cycloserine which suggests a stereochemically determined structural role for the differing kinetics of inactivation. These results demonstrate that the mechanism of action of d-cycloserine's activity against M. tuberculosis may be more complicated than previously thought and that d-cycloserine may compromise the in vivo activity of multiple PLP-dependent enzymes, including MtIlvE.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Cycloserine / pharmacology*
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Structure
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / enzymology*
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Transaminases / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Cycloserine
  • Transaminases
  • branched-chain-amino-acid transaminase