Adenosine kinase from Cryptosporidium parvum

Jon Galazka, Boris Striepen, Buddy Ullman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Analysis of the Cryptosporidium parvum genome demonstrates that the parasite cannot synthesize purines de novo and reveals that the sole route for purine salvage by the parasite is via adenosine kinase (CpAK). In order to initiate a biochemical characterization of CpAK and ultimately validate this apparently essential enzyme as a therapeutic target, the CpAK gene was redesigned for optimum codon usage, overexpressed in Escherichia coli, and the recombinant protein purified to homogeneity and characterized. CpAK appears to be specific for adenosine among the naturally occurring nucleosides but can utilize ATP, GTP, UTP and CTP as the phosphate donor. The enzyme exhibits Km values of 1.4 μM for adenosine and 41 μM for ATP, has a pH optimum ∼7.0, and is dependent upon the presence of a divalent cation. Structure-activity data intimate that catalysis requires contacts between residues on CpAK with the six-position of the purine ring and the O2′ and O3′ hydroxyls of the ribose sugar. Additionally, 4-nitro-6-benzylthioinosine, a compound that demonstrates therapeutic promise against the related parasite Toxoplasma gondii, also inhibits adenosine phosphorylation by CpAK. The overproduction and purification of CpAK now enables a thorough evaluation of its potential as a drug target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-230
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Adenosine kinase
  • Cryptosporidium parvum
  • Parasite
  • Protozoa
  • Purine salvage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Molecular Biology


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