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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


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


Cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (POR) has played a potential role in the metabolism of drugs and steroids by supplying electrons to microsomal cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes. More than 200 different POR mutations and polymorphisms causing more than 130 amino acid changes in the POR protein have been reported since 2004. A503V is a common amino acid sequence variant encoded by POR*28, whereas A287P and R457H are the most common disease-causing mutations in Europeans and Asians, respectively. Polymorphisms in the POR gene can affect POR activity, CYP-mediated drug metabolism activities, and the efficacy of several clinically used drugs. The effects of POR variants on CYP activities are substrate dependent. In this review, recent research on the effects of POR genetic polymorphisms on drug metabolism and therapy has been summarized and discussed, which can contribute to the rational use of drugs in clinic and the development of personalized medicine.

Concepts: Protein, Pharmacology, Amino acid, Metabolism, Enzyme, Cytochrome P450, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase


To evaluate the influence of two variants of P450 oxidoreductase (POR), rs2868177 and POR*28, on the stable dosage of acenocoumarol.

Concepts: Dose, Cytochrome P450, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase


There is an urgent need to develop effective therapies and treatment strategies to treat hypoxic tumors, which have a very poor prognosis and do not respond well to existing therapies.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Tumor, Neoplasm, Cytochrome P450, P450-containing systems, Cytochrome P450 reductase


Cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs) are responsible for the phase I metabolism of drugs, xenobiotics and endogenous substances. Knowledge of single CYPs and their substrates is important for drug metabolism, helps to predict adverse effects and may prevent reduced drug efficacy in polypharmacy. In this study, three equine isoenzymes of the 3A subfamily, the equine flavoprotein NADPH-P450 oxidoreductase (POR), and the cytochrome b5 (CYB5) were cloned, sequenced and heterologously expressed in a baculovirus expression system. Testosterone, the standard compound for characterization of the human CYP3A4, was used to characterize the newly expressed equine CYPs. The metabolite pattern was similar in equine and the human CYPs, but the amounts of metabolites were isoform-dependent. All equine CYPs produced 2-hydroxytestosterone (2-OH-TES), a metabolite never described in equines. The main metabolite of CYP3A4 6β-hydroxytestosterone (6β-OH-TES) was measured in CYPs 3A95 and 3A97 with levels close to the detection limit. Ketoconazole inhibited 2-OH-TES in the human CYP3A4 and the equine CYP3A94 and CYP3A97 completely, whereas a 70% inhibition was found in CYP3A95. Testosterone 6β- and 2-hydroxylation was significantly different in the equine CYPs compared to CYP3A4. The expression of single equine CYPs allows characterizing drug metabolism and may allow prevention of drug-drug interactions.

Concepts: Metabolism, Enzyme, Cytochrome P450, Steroid, Drug metabolism, Xenobiotic metabolism, P450-containing systems, Xenobiotic


Atrazine is well known to be a biologically hazardous substance with toxic effects, but atrazine-induced neurotoxicity remains unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms of atrazine-induced cerebellar toxicity. To determine atrazine-exerted potential neurotoxicity, quails were treated with 50, 250 and 500 mg/kg atrazine by gavage administration for 45 days. Notably, the changes of cytochrome P450 enzyme system (CYP450s) were observed in atrazine-exposed quails. The contents of cytochrome P450 (CYP450) and Cytochrome b5 (Cyt b5) and the activities of NADPH-cytochrome c reductase (NCR), aminopyrin N-demethylase (APND) and aniline-4-hydeoxylase (AH) were increased and erythromycin N-demethylase (ERND) was decreased in quail cerebellum. Nuclear xenobiotic receptors (NXRs) and the transcriptions of NXRs-related target molecules were influenced in cerebellum. Atrazine disrupted the CYP450s balance in quail cerebellum. These results suggested that atrazine-induced cerebellar toxicity in birds was associated with activating PXR/CAR pathway responses and disrupting cytochrome P450 homeostasis. This study provided novel evidences that atrazine exposure induced cerebellar toxicity.

Concepts: Metabolism, Cytochrome P450, Toxicology, Quail, Toxicity, CYP3A4, Neurotoxicity, P450-containing systems