GHMP kinases - Structures, mechanisms and potential for therapeutically relevant inhibition

David J. Timson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The GHMP kinases are a structurally related family of small molecule kinases named after four of its members - galactokinase, homoserine kinase, mevalonate kinase and phosphomevalonate kinase. The group also includes the enzymes N-acetylgalactosamine kinase, arabinose kinase, mevalonate 5-diphosphate decarboxylase, archeal shikimate kinase and 4-(cytidine 5'-diphospho)-2-c-methyl-D-erythritol kinase. In addition the group includes two members not known to be catalytically active, the Caenorhabditis elegans sex-fate determining protein XOL-1 and the Saccharomyces cerevisiae transcriptional activator Gal3p. Two catalytic mechanisms have been proposed for GHMP kinases. The structure of mevalonate kinase suggests that an aspartate residue acts as an active site base, removing a proton from the substrate to facilitate attack on the γ phosphate of MgATP. In contrast, in homoserine kinase there is no potential catalytic base and it is proposed that catalysis is driven by transition state stabilisation. Potential chemotherapeutic interventions against GHMP kinases fall into three main categories: inhibition of galactokinase to assist suffers of galactosemia, inhibition of mevalonate kinase or mevalonate 5-diphosphate decarboxylase to reduce flux through the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway and inhibition of bacterial GHMP kinases for novel anti-microbial therapies. These are in the early stages of development, but the accumulation of structural and mechanistic data will assist future progress.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)77-94
    Number of pages18
    JournalCurrent Enzyme Inhibition
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2007


    • Anti-microbial chemotherapy
    • Carbohydrate metabolism
    • Cholesterol metabolism
    • Enzyme mechanism
    • Galactokinase
    • Galactosemia
    • Homoserine kinase
    • Hyperimmunoglobulinemia D syndrome (HIDS)
    • Mevalonate kinase
    • Mevalonic aciduria


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