Buy article online - an online subscription or single-article purchase is required to access this article.
Download citation
Download citation
link to html
The protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei is the etiological agent of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). HAT, together with other neglected tropical diseases, causes serious health and economic issues, especially in tropical and subtropical areas. The classical antifolates targeting dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) are ineffective towards trypanosomatid parasites owing to a metabolic bypass by the expression of pteridine reductase 1 (PTR1). The combined inhibition of PTR1 and DHFR activities in Trypanosoma parasites represents a promising strategy for the development of new effective treatments for HAT. To date, only monocyclic and bicyclic aromatic systems have been proposed as inhibitors of T. brucei PTR1 (TbPTR1); nevertheless, the size of the catalytic cavity allows the accommodation of expanded molecular cores. Here, an innovative tricyclic-based compound has been explored as a TbPTR1-targeting molecule and its potential application for the development of a new class of PTR1 inhibitors has been evaluated. 2,4-Diaminopyrimido[4,5-b]indol-6-ol (1) was designed and synthesized, and was found to be effective in blocking TbPTR1 activity, with a Ki in the low-micromolar range. The binding mode of 1 was clarified through the structural characterization of its ternary complex with TbPTR1 and the cofactor NADP(H), which was determined to 1.30 Å resolution. The compound adopts a substrate-like orientation inside the cavity that maximizes the binding contributions of hydrophobic and hydrogen-bond interactions. The binding mode of 1 was compared with those of previously reported bicyclic inhibitors, providing new insights for the design of innovative tricyclic-based molecules targeting TbPTR1.

Supporting information


Portable Document Format (PDF) file
Synthetic procedures and Supplementary Figures.

PDB reference: Trypanosoma brucei pteridine reductase 1 in complex with a tricyclic-based inhibitor, 6tbx

Subscribe to Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography

The full text of this article is available to subscribers to the journal.

If you have already registered and are using a computer listed in your registration details, please email for assistance.

Buy online

You may purchase this article in PDF and/or HTML formats. For purchasers in the European Community who do not have a VAT number, VAT will be added at the local rate. Payments to the IUCr are handled by WorldPay, who will accept payment by credit card in several currencies. To purchase the article, please complete the form below (fields marked * are required), and then click on `Continue'.
E-mail address* 
Repeat e-mail address* 
(for error checking) 

Format*   PDF (US $40)
   HTML (US $40)
   PDF+HTML (US $50)
In order for VAT to be shown for your country javascript needs to be enabled.

VAT number 
(non-UK EC countries only) 

Terms and conditions of use
Contact us

Follow Acta Cryst. D
Sign up for e-alerts
Follow Acta Cryst. on Twitter
Follow us on facebook
Sign up for RSS feeds