Structural determinants of phosphodiesterase 6 response on binding catalytic site inhibitors

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To predict the response of retinal phosphodiesterase on binding catalytic site inhibitors, a homology model of the catalytic domain of subunit α of type 6 phosphodiesterase has been built by selecting an experimental structure of type 5 phosphodiesterase as template. Guanosine monophosphate and inhibitors (sildenafil, zaprinast) docked to the type 6 phosphodiesterase binding crevice similarly to the experimental conformations of guanosine monophosphate and sildenafil in the catalytic domain of type 5 phosphodiesterase. Inhibitors, but not guanosine monophosphate, interacted with Phe778 and Met759 (sildenafil) or Met759 (zaprinast), the key residues involved in the interaction between the catalytic binding domain and the inhibitory γ subunit of type 6 phosphodiesterase. Agreeing with predictions obtained by modelling binding, both inhibitors (1 and 10 μM) enhanced the amplitude of electric light responses of the isolated rat retina, however, the enhancement was smaller for the more efficacious inhibitor sildenafil. These paradoxical responses can be explained as a result of the enhancement of light activation of PDE6 through the competition between the catalytic site inhibitors and the γ subunit residues for catalytic domain residues Phe778 and Met759.

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