Inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH), a rate-limiting enzyme in the de novo synthesis of guanine nucleotides, is a major therapeutic target. A prototypic uncompetitive inhibitor of IMPDH, mycophenolic acid (MPA), is the active form of mycophenolate mofeteil (CellCept), a widely used immunosuppressive drug. We have found that MPA interacts with intracellular IMPDH in vivo to alter its mobility on SDS-polyacrylamide gels. MPA also induces a striking conformational change in IMPDH protein in intact cells, resulting in the formation of annular aggregates of protein with concomitant inhibition of IMPDH activity. These aggregates are not associated with any known intracellular organelles and are reversible by incubating cells with guanosine, which repletes intracellular GTP, or with GTPgammaS. GTP also restores IMPDH activity. Treatment of highly purified IMPDH with MPA also results in the formation of large aggregates of protein, a process that is both prevented and reversed by the addition of GTP. Finally, GTP binds to IMPDH at physiologic concentrations, induces the formation of linear arrays of tetrameric protein, and prevents the aggregation of protein induced by MPA. We conclude that intracellular GTP acts as an antagonist to MPA by directly binding to IMPDH and reversing the conformational changes in the protein.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M507056200
View details for Web of Science ID 000234307200028
View details for PubMedID 16243838