Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Materials Science, Biology


Human thymidylate synthase, a target in cancer chemotherapy, was crystallized from PEG 3350 with 30 mM ammonium sulfate (AS) in the crystallization medium. The crystals are isomorphous with the high-salt crystals (~2.0 M AS) and the structure has been solved and refined (R = 22.6%, Rfree = 24.3%) at 1.8 Å resolution. The high- and low-AS-concentration structures are quite similar, with loop 181-197 is in the inactive conformation. Also, residues 95-106 and 129-135 (eukaryotic inserts region) show high mobility as assessed by poor electron density and high values of crystallographic temperature factors (residues 1-25 and 108-129 are disordered in both structures). The high mobility of this region may reflect the situation at physiological ionic strength. Of the four sulfate ions observed bound at 2.0 M AS, only two are present at 30 mM AS. The inactive conformation appears to be stabilized by the side chain of Val3 or a leucine residue from the disordered regions. The low-salt conditions of these crystals should be much more suitable for the study of thymidylate synthase inhibitors, especially those that utilize sulfate-binding sites to stabilize the inactive conformation of loop 181-197.