Calorimetric studies of the interactions of metalloenzyme active site mimetics with zinc-binding inhibitors

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The binding of drugs to metalloenzymes is an intricate process that involves several interactions, including binding of the drug to the enzyme active site metal, as well as multiple interactions between the drug and the enzyme residues. In order to determine the free energy contribution of Zn2+ binding by known metalloenzyme inhibitors without the other interactions, valid active site zinc structural mimetics must be formed and binding studies need to be performed in biologically relevant conditions. The potential of each of five ligands to form a structural mimetic with Zn2+ was investigated in buffer using Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC). All five ligands formed strong 1 : 1 (ligand : Zn2+) binary complexes. The complexes were used in further ITC experiments to study their interaction with 8-hydroxyquinoline (8-HQ) and/or acetohydroxamic acid (AHA), two bidentate anionic zinc-chelating enzyme inhibitors. It was found that tetradentate ligands were not suitable for creating zinc structural mimetics for inhibitor binding in solution due to insufficient coordination sites remaining on Zn2+. A stable binary complex, [Zn(BPA)]2+, which was formed by a tridentate ligand, bis(2-pyridylmethyl)amine (BPA), was found to bind one AHA in buffer or a methanol : buffer mixture (60 : 40 by volume) at pH 7.25 or one 8-HQ in the methanol : buffer mixture at pH 6.80, making it an effective structural mimetic for the active site of zinc metalloenzymes. These results are consistent with the observation that metalloenzyme active site zinc ions have three residues coordinated to them, leaving one or two sites open for inhibitors to bind. Our findings indicate that Zn(BPA)X2 can be used as an active site structural mimetic for zinc metalloenzymes for estimating the free energy contribution of zinc binding to the overall inhibitor active site interactions. Such use will help aid in the rational design of inhibitors to a variety of zinc metalloenzymes.