Fatal Attraction There was this metallo-enzyme known as xanthine oxidase, 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 release. 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 disease, 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 bait, She got all excited, even for a split second she did not hesitate; A few amino-acid residues tried to whisper in her ear, "This fellow looks different. We shouldn't let him in here." The enzyme xanthine oxidase was full of vanity and pride, 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 allopurinol, 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 along; 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 parts; The infamous human beings had manipulated each and every move, That they always emerge victorious yet again they managed to prove.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|Title Annotation:||Clinical Chemist: Unveiling the Right Side|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2009|
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