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Fatal Attraction.

Fatal Attraction

 There was this metallo-enzyme known as xanthine
 In the metabolism of purine nucleotides she held a
 special place;
 Hypoxanthine and xanthine she would take up with
 consummate ease,
 Oxygen and FAD she devoured, uric acid she would
 She was having a field day, her business turnover was
 just great,
 The supply of her substrates was overwhelming and
 never seemed to abate;
 Uric acid levels were mounting and soon reached a
 saturation point,
 Some of it was diverted to the renal tissue and some
 of it to the joints.
 Contrary to the generally held view that acids and
 water mix well,
 Uric acid just about manages to stay in the aqueous
 environment in which it dwells;
 When sodium urate crystals accumulate in the synovial
 fluid and crystallize,
 An inflammatory response is provoked, a painful
 gouty arthritis is the prize.
 Many human beings were afflicted with this dreadful
 disease gout,
 That uric acid was the culprit was established without
 a doubt;
 Triggered by purine nucleotides being turned over at
 a fast rate,
 Leading up to hypoxanthine and xanthine formation
 and ending up as urate.
 The clever Homo sapiens soon found a cure for this
 They sent in allopurinol to trick the xanthine oxidase
 with ease;
 "The Trojan Horse" was taken in by the enzyme
 without a shred of doubt,
 Not knowing what the true nature of this substrate
 was all about.
 Hook, line, and sinker the enzyme fell for the chemical
 She got all excited, even for a split second she did not
 A few amino-acid residues tried to whisper in her ear,
 "This fellow looks different. We shouldn't let him in
 The enzyme xanthine oxidase was full of vanity and
 She thought she was very clever and that she alone
 would decide;
 "Who was a friend and who their foe," she said, she
 knew well,
 Ignoring all the good advice she went ahead with her
 catalytic spell.
 The active site of the enzyme then interacted with the
 Treating it like its very own substrate xanthine, the
 2:6 purinediol;
 Faithfully going through the motions of catalysis in
 exquisite detail,
 Converting it into alloxanthine, even within a micro
 environment so frail.
 Only in the end did she realize that something was
 terribly wrong,
 This was a "fatal attraction," she had been fooled all
 She had given birth to a product which clung to her like
 a leech,
 Permanently locked within a prison whose walls she
 could not breach.
 She had been rendered useless and totally incapacitated,
 She could no longer function; it was a mission ill-fated;
 All tied up in her own knots, she felt totally paralyzed,
 The game was over by the time her fault she realized.
 Neither the enzyme nor the drug knew who had
 thrown the darts,
 That they were merely actors destined to play their
 The infamous human beings had manipulated each and
 every move,
 That they always emerge victorious yet again they
 managed to prove.


DOI: 10.1373/clinchem.2009.136986

PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Coimbatore, India.

Image: (c) James Gillray's The Doubt (1779 -1805). Reproduced with permission from the NYPL Library Division: Print Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs.

Address correspondence to the author at: PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Peelamedu, Avanashi Rd, Coimbatore, TN, India, 641004. Fax +910422-2594400; e-mail
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Title Annotation:Clinical Chemist: Unveiling the Right Side
Author:Anand, Usha
Publication:Clinical Chemistry
Article Type:Poem
Date:Dec 1, 2009
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