The crystal structure of trypanothione reductase from the human pathogen Trypanosoma cruzi at 2.3 A resolution

Protein Sci. 1996 Jan;5(1):52-61. doi: 10.1002/pro.5560050107.


Trypanothione reductase (TR) is an NADPH-dependent flavoprotein unique to protozoan parasites from the genera Trypanosoma and Leishmania and is an important target for the design of improved trypanocidal drugs. We present details of the structure of TR from the human pathogen Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent responsible for Chagas' disease or South American trypanosomiasis. The structure has been solved by molecular replacement, using as the starting model the structure of the enzyme from the nonpathogenic Crithidia fasciculata, and refined to an R-factor of 18.9% for 53,868 reflections with F > or = sigma F between 8.0 and 2.3 A resolution. The model comprises two subunits (968 residues), two FAD prosthetic groups, two maleate ions, and 419 water molecules. The accuracy and geometry of the enzyme model is improved with respect to the C. fasciculata enzyme model. The new structure is described and specific features of the enzyme involved in substrate interactions are compared with previous models of TR and related glutathione reductases from human and Escherichia coli. Structural differences at the edge of the active sites suggest an explanation for the differing specificities toward glutathionylspermidine disulfide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Disulfides / metabolism
  • Flavin-Adenine Dinucleotide / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases / chemistry*
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • NADP / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / enzymology*


  • Disulfides
  • Flavin-Adenine Dinucleotide
  • NADP
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases
  • trypanothione reductase