Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) is the sentinel enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis. Both ODC and polyamines regulate cell division, proliferation, and apoptosis. Sepiapterin reductase (SPR) catalyzes the last step in the biosynthesis of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), an essential cofactor of nitric oxide synthase, and has been implicated in neurological diseases but not yet in cancer. In this study, we present compelling evidence that native ODC and SPR physically interact, and we defined the individual amino acid residues involved in both enzymes using in silico protein-protein docking simulations. The resulting heterocomplex is a surprisingly compact structure, featuring two energetically and structurally equivalent binding modes both in monomer and in dimer conformations. The novel interaction between ODC and SPR proteins was confirmed under physiological conditions by co-immunoprecipitation and co-localization in neuroblastoma (NB) cells. Importantly, we showed that siRNA (small interfering RNA)-mediated knockdown of SPR expression significantly reduced endogenous ODC enzyme activity in NB cells, thus demonstrating the biological relevance of the ODC-SPR interaction. Finally, in a cohort of 88 human NB tumors, we found that high SPR mRNA expression correlated significantly with poor survival prognosis using a Kaplan-Meier analysis (log-rank test, P = 5 × 10- 4), suggesting an oncogenic role for SPR in NB tumorigenesis. In conclusion, we showed that ODC binds SPR and thus propose a new concept in which two well-characterized biochemical pathways converge via the interaction of two enzymes. We identified SPR as a novel regulator of ODC enzyme activity and, based on clinical evidence, present a model in which SPR drives ODC-mediated malignant progression in NB.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.jmb.2013.09.037, hdl.handle.net/1765/86070
Journal of Molecular Biology
Department of Pediatrics

Lange, I., Geerts, D., Feith, D., Mocz, G., Koster, J., & Bachmann, A. (2014). Novel interaction of ornithine decarboxylase with sepiapterin reductase regulates neuroblastoma cell proliferation. Journal of Molecular Biology, 426(2), 332–346. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2013.09.037