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A parasitic roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides, is the causative agent of ascariasis, with approximately 760 million cases around the world. Helminthic infections occur with a high prevalence mostly in tropical and developing xcountries. Therefore, design of affordable broad-spectrum anti-helminthic agents against a variety of pathogens, including not only A. lumbricoides but also hookworms and whipworms, is desirable. Beta carbonic anhydrases (β-CAs) are considered promising targets of novel anthelminthics because these enzymes are present in various parasites, while completely absent in vertebrates.
In this study, we identified an A. lumbricoides β-CA (AIBCA) protein from protein sequence data using bioinformatics tools. We used computational biology resources and methods (including InterPro, CATH/Gene3D, KEGG, and METACYC) to analyze AlBCA and define potential roles of this enzyme in biological pathways. The AlBCA gene was cloned into pFastBac1, and recombinant AIBCA was produced in sf-9 insect cells. Kinetics of AlBCA were analyzed by a stopped-flow method.
Multiple sequence alignment revealed that AIBCA contains the two sequence motifs, CXDXR and HXXC, typical for β-CAs. Recombinant AIBCA showed significant CA catalytic activity with kcat of 6.0 × 105 s-1 and kcat/KM of 4.3 × 107 M-1 s-1. The classical CA inhibitor, acetazolamide, showed an inhibition constant of 84.1 nM. Computational modeling suggests that the molecular architecture of AIBCA is highly similar to several other known β-CA structures. Functional predictions suggest that AIBCA might play a role in bicarbonate-mediated metabolic pathways, such as gluconeogenesis and removal of metabolically produced cyanate.
These results open new avenues to further investigate the precise functions of β-CAs in parasites and suggest that novel β-CA specific inhibitors should be developed and tested against helminthic diseases.
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