Rational Design of Potent Inhibitors of a Metallohydrolase Using a Fragment-Based Approach

Daniel Feder, Siti H. Mohd-Pahmi, Waleed M. Hussein, Luke W. Guddat, Ross P. McGeary*, Gerhard Schenk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Metallohydrolases form a large group of enzymes that have fundamental importance in a broad range of biological functions. Among them, the purple acid phosphatases (PAPs) have gained attention due to their crucial role in the acquisition and use of phosphate by plants and also as a promising target for novel treatments of bone-related disorders and cancer. To date, no crystal structure of a mammalian PAP with drug-like molecules bound near the active site is available. Herein, we used a fragment-based design approach using structures of a mammalian PAP in complex with the MaybridgeTM fragment CC063346, the amino acid L-glutamine and the buffer molecule HEPES, as well as various solvent molecules to guide the design of highly potent and efficient mammalian PAP inhibitors. These inhibitors have improved aqueous solubility when compared to the clinically most promising PAP inhibitors available to date. Furthermore, drug-like fragments bound in newly discovered binding sites mapped out additional scaffolds for further inhibitor discovery, as well as scaffolds for the design of inhibitors with novel modes of action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3342-3359
Number of pages18
Issue number21
StatePublished - 5 Nov 2021


  • Metallohydrolases
  • fragment-based enzyme inhibitor design
  • osteoporosis
  • protein crystal structures
  • purple acid phosphatase


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