Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

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


Electron transfer in all living organisms critically relies on formation of complexes between the proteins involved. The function of these complexes requires specificity of the interaction to allow for selective electron transfer but also a fast turnover of the complex and they are therefore often transient in nature, making them challenging to study. Here, using small-angle neutron scattering with contrast matching with deuterated protein, we report the solution structure of the electron transfer complex between cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR) and its electron transfer partner cytochrome c. This is the first reported solution structure of a complex between CPR and an electron transfer partner. The structure shows that the interprotein interface includes residues from both the FMN- and FAD-binding domains of CPR. In addition, the FMN is close to the heme of cytochrome c but distant from the FAD, indicating that domain movement is required between the electron transfer steps in the catalytic cycle of CPR. In summary, our results reveal key details of the CPR catalytic mechanism, including interactions of two domains of the reductase with cytochrome c and motions of these domains relative to one another. These findings shed light on inter-protein electron transfer in this system and illustrate a powerful approach for studying solution structures of protein-protein complexes.

Concepts: Electron, Metabolism, Neutron, Scattering, Cytochrome P450, Electron transport chain, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase


Allergic rhinitis and urticaria are common allergic diseases that may have a major negative impact on patients' quality of life. Bilastine, a novel new-generation antihistamine that is highly selective for the H1 histamine receptor, has a rapid onset and prolonged duration of action. This agent does not interact with the cytochrome P450 system and does not undergo significant metabolism in humans, suggesting that it has very low potential for drug-drug interactions, and does not require dose adjustment in renal impairment. As bilastine is not metabolized and is excreted largely unchanged, hepatic impairment is not expected to increase systemic exposure above the drug’s safety margin. Bilastine has demonstrated similar efficacy to cetirizine and desloratadine in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis and, in a Vienna Chamber study, a potentially longer duration of action than fexofenadine in patients with asymptomatic seasonal allergic rhinitis. It has also shown significant efficacy (similar to that of cetirizine) and safety in the long-term treatment of perennial allergic rhinitis. Bilastine showed similar efficacy to levocetirizine in patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria and can be safely used at doses of up to fourfold higher than standard dosage (80 mg once daily). The fourfold higher than standard dose is specified as an acceptable second-line treatment option for urticaria in international guidelines. Bilastine is generally well tolerated, both at standard and at supratherapeutic doses, appears to have less sedative potential than other second-generation antihistamines, and has no cardiotoxicity. Based on its pharmacokinetic properties, efficacy, and tolerability profile, bilastine will be valuable in the management of allergic rhinitis and urticaria.

Concepts: Metabolism, Cytochrome P450, Histamine, Steroid, Pharmacokinetics, P450-containing systems


Tacrolimus (TAC) is a first-line immunosuppressant used to prevent organ rejection after kidney transplantation. There is large inter-individual variability in its pharmacokinetics. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes encoding TAC metabolising enzymes cytochromes P450 3A4/5 (CYP3A4/5), P-glycoprotein efflux transporter (ABCB1), their expression regulator pregnane X receptor (NR1I2), and CYP3A co-factor cytochrome P450 reductase (POR), have been studied for their effects on tacrolimus disposition. However, except for CYP3A5*3, controversies remain about their roles in predicting dose-adjusted trough blood TAC concentrations (C0/D). This study aimed to investigate the effects of ABCB1 (61A>G, 1199G>A, 1236C>T, 2677G>T and 3435C>T), CYP3A4*22, CYP3A5*3, NR1I2 (8055C>T, 63396C>T and -25385C>T) and POR*28 SNPs on TAC C0/D. In total, 165 kidney transplant recipients were included in this study. SNPs were genotyped by probe-based real-time polymerase chain reaction. Associations between log-transformed whole blood TAC C0/D (measured at 1 and 3 months post-transplant) and genotypes/haplotypes were assessed by linear mixed effects analysis, controlling for age, sex and haematocrit. It was observed that CYP3A5 expressors (*1/*1 + *1/*3) (P = 5.5×10-16) and ABCB1 61G allele carriers (P = 0.001) had lower log-transformed TAC C0/D (56% and 26% lower geometric mean TAC C0/D, respectively) and accounted for approximately 30% and 4%, respectively, of log-transformed TAC C0/D variability in the first 3 months post-transplant. In conclusion, CYP3A5*3 is a major, and ABCB1 61A>G is a novel, although minor, genetic factor affecting TAC C0/D in kidney transplant recipients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: DNA, Polymerase chain reaction, Molecular biology, Cytochrome P450, Organ transplant, Kidney transplantation, Transplant rejection, P450-containing systems


Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) is an environmental pollutant that, based on evidence largely from in vitro studies, exerts its genotoxic effects after metabolic activation by cytochrome P450s. In the present study, Hepatic Reductase Null (HRN) and Hepatic Cytochrome b 5 /P450 Reductase Null (HBRN) mice have been used to study the role of P450s in the metabolic activation of BaP in vivo. In HRN mice, cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (POR), the electron donor to P450, is deleted specifically in hepatocytes. In HBRN mice the microsomal haemoprotein cytochrome b 5 , which can also act as an electron donor from cytochrome b 5 reductase to P450s, is also deleted in the liver. Wild-type (WT), HRN and HBRN mice were treated by i.p. injection with 125 mg/kg body weight BaP for 24 h. Hepatic microsomal fractions were isolated from BaP-treated and untreated mice. In vitro incubations carried out with BaP-pretreated microsomal fractions, BaP and DNA resulted in significantly higher BaP-DNA adduct formation with WT microsomal fractions compared to those from HRN or HBRN mice. Adduct formation (i.e. 10-(deoxyguanosin-N2-yl)-7,8,9-trihydroxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydro-BaP [dG-N2-BPDE]) correlated with observed CYP1A activity and metabolite formation (i.e. BaP-7,8-dihydrodiol) when NADPH or NADH was used as enzymatic cofactors. BaP-DNA adduct levels (i.e. dG-N2-BPDE) in vivo were significantly higher (~ sevenfold) in liver of HRN mice than WT mice while no significant difference in adduct formation was observed in liver between HBRN and WT mice. Our results demonstrate that POR and cytochrome b 5 both modulate P450-mediated activation of BaP in vitro. However, hepatic P450 enzymes in vivo appear to be more important for BaP detoxification than its activation.

Concepts: Metabolism, Enzyme, Liver, Glycogen, Cytochrome P450, In vitro, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase


The interindividual variability of cyclosporin A (CsA) pharmacokinetics might be explained by heterogeneity in the cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) subfamily. Altered CYP3A enzyme activity was associated with variant allele of P450 oxidoreductase gene (POR*28). The aim of this study was to assess the impact of age, CYP3A5*3, CYP3A4*22, and POR*28 alleles on CsA pharmacokinetics in pediatric renal transplant recipients.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Genotype, Allele, Cytochrome P450, Organ transplant, Transplant rejection, P450-containing systems


Human hepatic cytochromes P450 (CYP) are integral to xenobiotic metabolism. CYP2B6 is a major catalyst of biotransformation of environmental toxicants including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). CYP2B substrates tend to contain halogen atoms, but the biochemical basis for this selectivity and for species specific determinants of metabolism has not been identified. Spectral binding titrations and inhibition studies were performed to investigate interactions of rat CYP2B1, rabbit CYP2B4, and CYP2B6 with a series of phenoxyaniline (POA) congeners that are analogs of PBDEs. For most congeners, there was less than 3-fold difference between the spectral binding constants (KS) and IC50 values. In contrast, large discrepancies between these values were observed for POA and 3-chloro-4-phenoxyaniline. CYP2B1 was the most sensitive enzyme to POA congeners, so the Val-363 residue from that enzyme was introduced into CYP2B4 or CYP2B6. This substitution partially altered the protein-ligand interaction profiles to make them more similar to that of CYP2B1. Addition of cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (POR) to titrations of CYP2B6 with POA or 2'4'5'TCPOA decreased the affinity of both ligands for the enzyme. Addition of cytochrome b5 (cyt b5) to a recombinant enzyme system containing POR and CYP2B6 increased the POA IC50 value and decreased the 2'4'5'TCPOA IC50 value. Overall, the inconsistency between KS and IC50 values for POA versus 2'4'5'TCPOA is largely due to the effects of redox partner binding. These results provide insight into the biochemical basis of diphenyl ether binding to human CYP2B6 and changes in CYP2B6 mediated metabolism dependent on POA congener and redox partner identity.

Concepts: Alcohol, Metabolism, Enzyme, Cytochrome P450, Drug metabolism, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase, CYP2B6