Multinuclear NMR characterization of two coexisting conformational states of the Lactobacillus casei dihydrofolate reductase-trimethoprim-NADP+ complex

Biochemistry. 1984 Sep 25;23(20):4733-42. doi: 10.1021/bi00315a032.


The complex of Lactobacillus casei dihydrofolate reductase with trimethoprim and NADP+ exists in solution as a mixture of approximately equal amounts of two slowly interconverting conformational states [Gronenborn, A., Birdsall, B., Hyde, E. I., Roberts, G. C. K., Feeney, J., & Burgen, A. S. V. (1981) Mol. Pharmacol. 20, 145]. These have now been further characterized by multinuclear NMR experiments, and a partial structural model has been proposed. 1H NMR spectra at 500 MHz show that the environments of six of the seven histidine residues differ between the two conformations. The characteristic 1H and 31P chemical shifts of nuclei of the coenzyme in the two conformations of the complex are identical in analogous complexes formed with a number of trimethoprim analogues, indicating that the nature of the two conformations is the same in each case. The pyrophosphate 31P resonances have been assigned to the two conformations, and integration of the 31P spectrum shows that the ratio of conformation I to conformation II varies from 0.4 to 2.3 in the complexes with the various trimethoprim analogues, the ratio for the trimethoprim complex itself being 1.2. Transferred NOE experiments, together with the 1H and 13C chemical shifts, indicate that in conformation II of the complex the nicotinamide ring of the coenzyme has swung away from the enzyme surface into solution; this is made possible by changes in the conformation of the pyrophosphate moiety. In conformation I, by contrast, the nicotinamide ring remains bound to the enzyme. 13C and 15N experiments show that trimethoprim is protonated on N1 in both conformations of the ternary complex. Analysis of the 1H chemical shifts of trimethoprim in terms of ring current effects shows that in conformation I of the ternary complex trimethoprim retains the same conformation as in its binary complex, but 13C, 15N, and 19F [using 2,4-diamino-5-(3,5-dimethoxy-4-fluoro-benzyl)pyrimidine] experiments show that the environment of both the pyrimidine ring and benzyl ring is affected by the proximity of the coenzyme. Less information is available about the conformation of the inhibitor in conformation II of the complex, but its environment is similar to that in the binary enzyme-inhibitor complex. The implications of the existence of these two conformations of the enzyme for understanding cooperativity in binding between NADP+ and trimethoprim are briefly discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Lactobacillus casei / enzymology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods
  • NADP / metabolism*
  • Nitrogen Isotopes
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase / metabolism*
  • Trimethoprim / metabolism*


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Nitrogen Isotopes
  • NADP
  • Trimethoprim
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase