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Concept: P450-containing systems


Cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (POR) is known as the sole electron donor in the metabolism of drugs by cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes in human. However, little is known about the effect of polymorphic variants of POR on drug metabolic activities of CYP3A4 and CYP2B6. In order to better understand the mechanism of the activity of CYPs affected by polymorphic variants of POR, six full-length mutants of POR (e.g., Y181D, A287P, K49N, A115V, S244C and G413S) were designed and then co-expressed with CYP3A4 and CYP2B6 in the baculovirus-Sf9 insect cells to determine their kinetic parameters. Surprisingly, both mutants, Y181D and A287P in POR completely inhibited the CYP3A4 activity with testosterone, while the catalytic activity of CYP2B6 with bupropion was reduced to approximately ~70% of wild-type activity by Y181D and A287P mutations. In addition, the mutant K49N of POR increased the CLint (Vmax/Km) of CYP3A4 up to more than 31% of wild-type, while it reduced the catalytic efficiency of CYP2B6 to 74% of wild-type. Moreover, CLint values of CYP3A4-POR (A115V, G413S) were increased up to 36% and 65% of wild-type respectively. However, there were no appreciable effects observed by the remaining two mutants of POR (i.e., A115V and G413S) on activities of CYP2B6. In conclusion, the extent to which the catalytic activities of CYP were altered did not only depend on the specific POR mutations but also on the isoforms of different CYP redox partners. Thereby, we proposed that the POR-mutant patients should be carefully monitored for the activity of CYP3A4 and CYP2B6 on the prescribed medication.

Concepts: Metabolism, Enzyme, Electrochemistry, Catalysis, Nitrogen, Cytochrome P450, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase


We have previously described the development of genetic models to study the in vivo functions of the hepatic cytochrome P450 system, through the hepatic deletion of either cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (POR; HRN line) or cytochrome b5 (Cyb5; HBN line). However, HRN mice still exhibit low levels of mono-oxygenase activity, in spite of the absence of detectable reductase protein. To investigate whether this is because cytochrome b5 and cytochrome b5 reductase can act as sole electron donors to the P450 system, we have crossed HRN with HBN mice to generate a line lacking hepatic expression of both electron donors (HBRN). HBRN mice exhibited exacerbation of the phenotypic characteristics of the HRN line - liver enlargement, hepatosteatosis and increased expression of certain cytochrome P450s. Also, drug metabolising activities in vitro were further reduced relative to the HRN model, in some cases to undetectable levels. Pharmacokinetic studies in vivo demonstrated that midazolam half-life, Cmax and area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) were increased, and clearance was decreased, to a greater extent in the HBRN line than in either the HBN or HRN model. Microsomal incubations using NADPH concentrations below the apparent Km of cytochrome b5 reductase, but well above that for POR, led to the virtual elimination of 7-benzyloxyquinoline turnover in HRN samples. These data provide strong evidence that cytochrome b5/cytochrome b5 reductase can act as a sole electron donors to the cytochrome P450 system in vitro and in vivo.

Concepts: Cytochrome P450, Paracetamol, CYP3A4, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase


Interindividual variability in cytochrome P450 (CYP)-mediated xenobiotic metabolism is extensive. CYP metabolism requires two electrons, which can be donated by NADPH cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (CYPOR) and/or cytochrome b5 (b5). Although substantial number of studies have reported on the function and effect of b5 in CYP-mediated catalysis, its mode of action is still not fully understood.

Concepts: Metabolism, Enzyme, Cytochrome P450, CYP1A2, Xenobiotic metabolism, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase, Xenobiotic


Paraquat, a herbicide linked to Parkinson’s disease, generates reactive oxygen species (ROS), which causes cell death. Because the source of paraquat-induced ROS production remains unknown, we conducted a CRISPR-based positive-selection screen to identify metabolic genes essential for paraquat-induced cell death. Our screen uncovered three genes, POR (cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase), ATP7A (copper transporter), and SLC45A4 (sucrose transporter), required for paraquat-induced cell death. Furthermore, our results revealed POR as the source of paraquat-induced ROS production. Thus, our study highlights the use of functional genomic screens for uncovering redox biology.

Concepts: Gene, Bacteria, Mitochondrion, Oxidative phosphorylation, Hydrogen peroxide, Cytochrome P450, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase


Heme’s spin-multiplicity is key in determining the enzymatic function of cytochrome P450 (cytP450). The origin of the low-spin state in ferric P450 is still under debate. Here, we report the first experimental demonstration of P450’s membrane interaction altering its spin equilibrium which is accompanied by a stronger affinity for cytochrome b5. These results highlight the importance of lipid membrane for the function of P450.

Concepts: Archaea, Metabolism, Iron, Cytochrome P450, Steroid, Lipid bilayer, P450-containing systems, 2000 albums


Sulfonated steroids are increasingly recognized as a circulating reservoir of precursors for the local production of active steroids in certain target tissues. As an alternative to sulfonation of unconjugated steroids by cytosolic sulfotransferases, their direct formation from sulfonated precursors has been described. However, productivity and physiological relevance of this sulfate pathway of steroidogenesis are still widely unclear. Applying the porcine testis as a model, conversion of pregnenolone sulfate (P5S, sulfate pathway) by CYP17A1 was assessed in comparison to the parallel conversions of pregnenolone (P5, Δ5-pathway) and progesterone (P4, Δ4-pathway). To characterize conversions in the virtual absence of competing enzyme activities, in a first series of experiments porcine recombinant CYP17A1 was incubated with the respective substrate in the presence of bovine recombinant cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (CPR) and cytochrome b5 (b5). Moreover, porcine testicular microsomal fractions were used as a source of homologous CYP17A1, CPR and b5. Invariably 17α-hydroxylation of P5S was, if at all, only minimal and no formation of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate from P5S was detectable. Consistent with earlier studies porcine CYP17A1 efficiently metabolized P4 and P5 in both assay systems. Metabolism of P4 and P5 by testicular microsomal protein varied substantially between the five animals tested. In conclusion, a physiologically relevant sulfate pathway for the production of C19-steroids from P5S via CYP17A1 is very unlikely in the porcine testis.

Concepts: Metabolism, Enzyme, Cytochrome P450, Steroid, CYP17A1, P450-containing systems, Pregnenolone, Cytochrome P450 reductase


An incorrect version of the Supplementary Information was inadvertently published with this Article where the wrong file was included. The HTML has been updated to include the correct version of the Supplementary Information.

Concepts: Metabolism, Enzyme, Cytochrome P450, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase, Xenobiotic


Cytochrome P450 enzymes are increasingly investigated due to their potential application as biocatalysts with high regio- and/or stereo-selectivity and under mild conditions. Vitamin D3 metabolites are of pharmaceutical importance and are applied for the treatment of vitamin D3 deficiency and other disorders. However, the chemical synthesis of vitamin D3 derivatives shows low specificity and low yields. In this study, cytochrome P450 CYP109A2 from Bacillus megaterium DSM319 was expressed, purified and shown to oxidize vitamin D3 with high regio-selectivity. The in vitro conversion, using cytochrome P450 reductase (BmCPR) and ferredoxin (Fdx2) from the same strain, showed typical Michaelis-Menten reaction kinetics. A whole-cell system in B. megaterium overexpressing CYP109A2 reached 76 ± 5% conversion after 24h and allowed to identify the main product by NMR analysis as 25-hydroxylated vitamin D3 . Product yield amounted to 54.9 mg L(-1) day(-1) , rendering the established whole-cell system as a highly promising biocatalytic route for the production of this valuable metabolite. The crystal structure of substrate-free CYP109A2 was determined at 2.7 Å resolution, displaying an open conformation. Structural analysis predicts that CYP109A2 uses a highly similar set of residues for vitamin D3 binding as the related vitamin D3 hydroxylases CYP109E1 from Bacillus megaterium and CYP107BR1 (Vdh) from Pseudonocardia autotrophica. However, the folds and sequences of the BC loops in these three P450s are highly divergent, leading to differences in the shape and apolar/polar surface distribution of their active site pockets, which may account for the observed differences in substrate specificity and the regio-selectivity of vitamin D3 hydroxylation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Metabolism, Enzyme, Enzyme substrate, Product, Cytochrome P450, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase


CYP725A4 is a P450 enzyme from Taxus cuspidata that catalyzes the formation of taxadiene-5α-ol (T5α-ol) from taxadiene in paclitaxel biosynthesis. Past attempts expressing CYP725A4 in heterologous hosts reported the formation of 5(12)-oxa-3(11)-cyclotaxane (OCT) and/or 5(11)-oxa-3(11)-cyclotaxane (iso-OCT) instead of, or in addition to, T5α-ol. Here we report that T5α-ol is produced as a minor product by Escherichia coli expressing both taxadiene synthase (TS) and CYP725A4. The major products were OCT and iso-OCT, while trace amounts of unidentified monooxygenated taxanes were also detected by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Since OCT and iso-OCT had not been found in nature, we tested the hypothesis that protein-protein interaction of CYP725A4 with redox partners, such as cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR) and cytochrome b5, may affect the products formed by CYP725A4, possibly favoring the formation of T5α-ol over OCT and iso-OCT. Our results show that coexpression of CYP725A4 with CPR from different organisms did not change the relative ratios of OCT, iso-OCT, and T5α-ol, while cytochrome b5 decreased overall levels of the products formed. Although unsuccessful in finding conditions that promote T5α-ol formation over other products, we used our results to clarify conflicting claims in the literature and discuss other possible approaches to produce paclitaxel via metabolic and enzyme engineering. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Protein, Metabolism, Enzyme, Escherichia coli, Cytochrome P450, Copyright, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase


We examined the effects of thyrotoxic rubber antioxidants, 2-mercaptobenzimidazole (MBI, 0.3 mmol/kg/day) and its methyl derivatives, methyl-MBIs [4-methyl-MBI (4-MeMBI, 0.6 mmol/kg/day), 5-methyl-MBI (5-MeMBI, 0.6 mmol/kg/day), and 4(or 5)-methyl-MBI (4(5)-MeMBI, 0.6 or 1.2 mmol/kg/day)], on the drug-metabolizing activity in male rat liver microsomes by 8-day repeated oral administration. The weight of liver and thyroid were increased by all the test chemicals; MBI was most potent, and there was no additive or synergistic effect between 4-MeMBI and 5-MeMBI. MBI decreased the cytochrome P450 (CYP) content, NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase (POR) activity, 7-ethoxycoumarin O-deethylation (ECOD) activity, and flavin-containing monooxygenase (FMO) activity, but increased the 7-pentoxyresorufin O-depentylation (PROD) activity, suggesting inhibition of the drug-metabolizing activity on the whole but induce some activities such as the CYP2B activity. On the contrary, all the methyl-MBIs increased the CYP content, CYB5 content, ECOD activity, 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylation (EROD) activity, and PROD activity, indicating that they are mostly inducible of the CYP activity. However, the methyl-MBIs decreased the FMO activity, and 5-MeMBI and 4(5)-MeMBI appeared inhibitory for CYPs 2C11 and 2C13. Between 4-MeMBI and 5-MeMBI, there was no additive or synergistic effect on the drug-metabolizing activity, but was counteraction. It was concluded that MBI and methyl-MBIs had both inhibitory and inducible effects on the drug-metabolizing activity in rat liver microsomes at thyrotoxic doses. The effects of 4(5)-MeMBI indicated that the increased liver weight alone can be a hepatotoxic sign but not an adaptive no-adverse response in toxicity studies. The present results were related to the toxicokinetic profiles of MBI and 4(5)-MeMBI in the repeated toxicity studies.

Concepts: Metabolism, Liver, Cytochrome P450, Paracetamol, Microsome, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase, CYP2B6