Novel mechanism of inhibition of human angiotensin-I-converting enzyme (ACE) by a highly specific phosphinic tripeptide

M Akif, S L Schwager, C S Anthony, B Czarny, F Beau, V Dive, E D Sturrock, K Ravi Acharya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (SciVal)


Human ACE (angiotensin-I-converting enzyme) has long been regarded as an excellent target for the treatment of hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases. Highly potent inhibitors have been developed and are extensively used in the clinic. To develop inhibitors with higher therapeutic efficacy and reduced side effects, recent efforts have been directed towards the discovery of compounds able to simultaneously block more than one zinc metallopeptidase (apart from ACE) involved in blood pressure regulation in humans, such as neprilysin and ECE-1 (endothelin-converting enzyme-1). In the present paper, we show the first structures of testis ACE [C-ACE, which is identical with the C-domain of somatic ACE and the dominant domain responsible for blood pressure regulation, at 1.97 angstrom (1 angstrom = 0.1 nm)] and the N-domain of somatic ACE (N-ACE, at 2.15 angstrom) in complex with a highly potent and selective dual ACE/ECE-1 inhibitor. The structural determinants revealed unique features of the binding of two molecules of the dual inhibitor in the active site of C-ACE. In both structures, the first molecule is positioned in the obligatory binding site and has a bulky bicyclic P-1 residue with the unusual R configuration which, Surprisingly, is accommodated by the large S-2' pocket. In the C-ACE complex, the isoxazole phenyl group of the second molecule makes strong pi-pi stacking interactions with the amino benzoyl group of the first molecule locking them in a 'hand-shake' conformation. These features, for the first time, highlight the unusual architecture and flexibility of the active site of C-ACE, which could be further utilized for structure-based design of new C-ACE or vasopeptidase inhibitors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date26 Apr 2011
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2011


  • angiotensin-I-converting enzyme (ACE)
  • metalloprotease
  • crystal structure
  • cardivascular disease
  • inhibitor design


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel mechanism of inhibition of human angiotensin-I-converting enzyme (ACE) by a highly specific phosphinic tripeptide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this