Photopharmacology has attracted research attention as a new tool for achieving optical control of biomolecules, following the methods of caged compounds and optogenetics. We have developed an efficient photopharmacological inhibitor-azoMTX-for Escherichia coli dihydrofolate reductase (eDHFR) by replacing some atoms of the original ligand, methotrexate, to achieve photoisomerization properties. This fine molecular design enabled quick structural conversion between the active "bent" Z isomer of azoMTX and the inactive "extended" E isomer, and this property afforded quantitative control over the enzyme activity, depending on the wavelength of irradiating light applied. Real-time photoreversible control over enzyme activity was also achieved.
Keywords: azobenzenes; enzyme catalysis; inhibitors; methotrexate; photochromism; photopharmacology.
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