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1.  Unusual properties of the cytochrome P450 superfamily 
During the early years of cytochrome P450 research, a picture of conserved properties arose from studies of mammalian forms of these monooxygenases. They included the protohaem prosthetic group, the cysteine residue that coordinates to the haem iron and the reduced CO difference spectrum. Alternatively, the most variable feature of P450s was the enzymatic activities, which led to the conclusion that there are a large number of these enzymes, most of which have yet to be discovered. More recently, studies of these enzymes in other eukaryotes and in prokaryotes have led to the discovery of unexpected P450 properties. Many are variations of the original properties, whereas others are difficult to explain because of their unique nature relative to the rest of the known members of the superfamily. These novel properties expand our appreciation of the broad view of P450 structure and function, and generate curiosity concerning the evolution of P450s. In some cases, structural properties, previously not found in P450s, can lead to enzymatic activities impacting the biological function of organisms containing these enzymes; whereas, in other cases, the biological reason for the variations are not easily understood. Herein, we present particularly interesting examples in detail rather than cataloguing them all.
doi:10.1098/rstb.2012.0434
PMCID: PMC3538423  PMID: 23297356
cytochrome P450; evolution; biodiversity; structure/function; unusual properties
2.  Cytochrome P450 107U1 is required for sporulation and antibiotic production in Streptomyces coelicolor 
The filamentous bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor has a complex life cycle involving the formation of hair-like aerial mycelia on the colony surface, which differentiate into chains of spores. Genes required for the initiation of aerial mycelium formation have been termed ‘bld’ (bald), describing the smooth, undifferentiated colonies of mutant strains. We report the identification of a new bld gene designated as sco3099 and biochemical analysis of its encoded enzyme, cytochrome P450 (P450, or CYP) 107U1. Deletion of sco3099 resulted in a mutant defective in aerial hyphae sporulation and sensitive to heat shock, indicating that P450 107U1 plays a key role in growth and development of S. coelicolor. This is the first P450 reported to participate in a sporulation process in Streptomycetes. The substrate and catalytic properties of P450 107U1 were further investigated in mass spectrometry-based metabolomic studies. Glycocholic acid (from the medium) was identified as a substrate of P450 107U1 and was oxidized to glyco-7-oxo-deoxycholic acid. Although this reaction is apparently not relevant to the observed sporulation deficiency, it suggests that P450 107U1 might exert its physiological function by oxidizing other steroid-like molecules.
doi:10.1016/j.abb.2013.01.001
PMCID: PMC3600146  PMID: 23357279
Cytochrome P450; Streptomyces; antibiotic synthesis; sporulation; steroid oxidation; metabolomics
3.  S279 Point Mutations in Candida albicans Sterol 14-α Demethylase (CYP51) Reduce In Vitro Inhibition by Fluconazole 
The effects of S279F and S279Y point mutations in Candida albicans CYP51 (CaCYP51) on protein activity and on substrate (lanosterol) and azole antifungal binding were investigated. Both S279F and S279Y mutants bound lanosterol with 2-fold increased affinities (Ks, 7.1 and 8.0 μM, respectively) compared to the wild-type CaCYP51 protein (Ks, 13.5 μM). The S279F and S279Y mutants and the wild-type CaCYP51 protein bound fluconazole, voriconazole, and itraconazole tightly, producing typical type II binding spectra. However, the S279F and S279Y mutants had 4- to 5-fold lower affinities for fluconazole, 3.5-fold lower affinities for voriconazole, and 3.5- to 4-fold lower affinities for itraconazole than the wild-type CaCYP51 protein. The S279F and S279Y mutants gave 2.3- and 2.8-fold higher 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) for fluconazole in a CYP51 reconstitution assay than the wild-type protein did. The increased fluconazole resistance conferred by the S279F and S279Y point mutations appeared to be mediated through a combination of a higher affinity for substrate and a lower affinity for fluconazole. In addition, lanosterol displaced fluconazole from the S279F and S279Y mutants but not from the wild-type protein. Molecular modeling of the wild-type protein indicated that the oxygen atom of S507 interacts with the second triazole ring of fluconazole, assisting in orientating fluconazole so that a more favorable binding conformation to heme is achieved. In contrast, in the two S279 mutant proteins, this S507-fluconazole interaction is absent, providing an explanation for the higher Kd values observed.
doi:10.1128/AAC.05389-11
PMCID: PMC3318376  PMID: 22252802
4.  An Enlarged, Adaptable Active Site in CYP164 Family P450 Enzymes, the Sole P450 in Mycobacterium leprae 
CYP164 family P450 enzymes are found in only a subset of mycobacteria and include CYP164A1, which is the sole P450 found in Mycobacterium leprae, the causative agent of leprosy. This has previously led to interest in this enzyme as a potential drug target. Here we describe the first crystal structure of a CYP164 enzyme, CYP164A2 from Mycobacterium smegmatis. CYP164A2 has a distinctive, enlarged hydrophobic active site that extends above the porphyrin ring toward the access channels. Unusually, we find that CYP164A2 can simultaneously bind two econazole molecules in different regions of the enlarged active site and is accompanied by the rearrangement and ordering of the BC loop. The primary location is through a classic interaction of the azole group with the porphyrin iron. The second econazole molecule is bound to a unique site and is linked to a tetracoordinated metal ion complexed to one of the heme carboxylates and to the side chains of His 105 and His 364. All of these features are preserved in the closely homologous M. leprae CYP164A1. The computational docking of azole compounds to a homology model of CYP164A1 suggests that these compounds will form effective inhibitors and is supported by the correlation of parallel docking with experimental binding studies of CYP164A2. The binding of econazole to CYP164A2 occurs primarily through the high-spin “open” conformation of the enzyme (Kd [dissociation constant] of 0.1 μM), with binding to the low-spin “closed” form being significantly hindered (Kd of 338 μM). These studies support previous suggestions that azole derivatives may provide an effective strategy to improve the treatment of leprosy.
doi:10.1128/AAC.05227-11
PMCID: PMC3256051  PMID: 22037849
5.  Structural Analysis of Cytochrome P450 105N1 Involved in the Biosynthesis of the Zincophore, Coelibactin 
Coelibactin is a putative non-ribosomally synthesized peptide with predicted zincophore activity and which has been implicated in antibiotic regulation in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2). The coelibactin biosynthetic pathway contains a stereo- and regio-specific monooxygenation step catalyzed by a cytochrome P450 enzyme (CYP105N1). We have determined the X-ray crystal structure of CYP105N1 at 2.9 Å and analyzed it in the context of the bacterial CYP105 family as a whole. The crystal structure reveals a channel between the α-helical domain and the β-sheet domain exposing the heme pocket and the long helix I to the solvent. This wide-open conformation of CYP105N1 may be related to the bulky substrate coelibactin. The ligand-free CYP105N1 structure has enough room in the substrate access channel to allow the coelibactin to enter into the active site. Analysis of typical siderophore ligands suggests that CYP105N1 may produce derivatives of coelibactin, which would then be able to chelate the zinc divalent cation.
doi:10.3390/ijms13078500
PMCID: PMC3430247  PMID: 22942716
cytochrome P450; CYP105N1; siderophore; Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2); zinc chelation
6.  Cyclization of a Cellular Dipentaenone by Streptomyces coelicolor Cytochrome P450 154A1 without Oxidation/Reduction 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2010;132(43):15173-15175.
We report a comprehensive genetic, metabolomic, and biochemical study on the catalytic properties of Streptomyces coelicolor cytochrome P450 (P450) 154A1, known to have a unique heme orientation in its crystal structure. Deletion of the P450 154A1 gene compromised the long-term stability of the bacterial spores. A novel dipentaenone (1) with a high degree of conjugation was identified as an endogenous substrate of P450 154A1 using a metabolomics approach. The biotransformation of 1 by P450 154A1 was shown to be an unexpected intramolecular cyclization to a Paternò–Büchi-like product, without oxidation/reduction.
doi:10.1021/ja107801v
PMCID: PMC3118511  PMID: 20979426
7.  Azole Binding Properties of Candida albicans Sterol 14-α Demethylase (CaCYP51)▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2010;54(10):4235-4245.
Purified Candida albicans sterol 14-α demethylase (CaCYP51) bound the CYP51 substrates lanosterol and eburicol, producing type I binding spectra with Ks values of 11 and 25 μM, respectively, and a Km value of 6 μM for lanosterol. Azole binding to CaCYP51 was “tight” with both the type II spectral intensity (ΔAmax) and the azole concentration required to obtain a half-ΔAmax being proportional to the CaCYP51 concentration. Tight binding of fluconazole and itraconazole was confirmed by 50% inhibitory concentration determinations from CYP51 reconstitution assays. CaCYP51 had similar affinities for clotrimazole, econazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, miconazole, and voriconazole, with Kd values of 10 to 26 μM under oxidative conditions, compared with 47 μM for fluconazole. The affinities of CaCYP51 for fluconazole and itraconazole appeared to be 4- and 2-fold lower based on CO displacement studies than those when using direct ligand binding under oxidative conditions. Econazole and miconazole were most readily displaced by carbon monoxide, followed by clotrimazole, ketoconazole, and fluconazole, and then voriconazole (7.8 pmol min−1), but itraconzole could not be displaced by carbon monoxide. This work reports in depth the characterization of the azole binding properties of wild-type C. albicans CYP51, including that of voriconazole, and will contribute to effective screening of new therapeutic azole antifungal agents. Preliminary comparative studies with the I471T CaCYP51 protein suggested that fluconazole resistance conferred by this mutation was through a combination of increased turnover, increased affinity for substrate, and a reduced affinity for fluconazole in the presence of substrate, allowing the enzyme to remain functionally active, albeit at reduced velocity, at higher fluconazole concentrations.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00587-10
PMCID: PMC2944560  PMID: 20625155
8.  Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) CYP102 Protein, a Novel Fatty Acid Hydroxylase Encoded as a Heme Domain without an N-Terminal Redox Partner▿  
The gene from Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) encoding CYP102B1, a recently discovered CYP102 subfamily which exists solely as a single P450 heme domain, has been cloned, expressed in Escherichia coli, purified, characterized, and compared to its fusion protein family members. Purified reconstitution metabolism experiments with spinach ferredoxin, ferredoxin reductase, and NADPH revealed differences in the regio- and stereoselective metabolism of arachidonic acid compared to that of CYP102A1, exclusively producing 11,12-epoxyeicosa-5,8,14-trienoic acid in addition to the shared metabolites 18-hydroxy arachidonic acid and 14,15-epoxyeicosa-5,8,11-trienoic acid. Consequently, in order to elucidate the physiological function of CYP102B1, transposon mutagenesis was used to generate an S. coelicolor A3(2) strain lacking CYP102B1 activity and the phenotype was assessed.
doi:10.1128/AEM.03000-09
PMCID: PMC2838009  PMID: 20097805
9.  The First Virally Encoded Cytochrome P450▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(16):8266-8269.
The genome sequence of the giant virus Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus revealed the presence of two putative cytochrome P450 (CYP) genes. The product of one of the two predicted CYP genes (YP_143162) showed low-level homology to sterol 14-demethylase (CYP51) and contained a C-terminal polypeptide domain of unknown function. YP_143162 expression (without an N-terminal membrane binding domain) in Escherichia coli yields a CYP protein which gives a reduced CO difference maximum at 448 nm and was formally demonstrated as the first viral cytochrome P450. Analysis of binding of lipid and sterol substrates indicated no perturbation in CYP heme environment, and an absence of activity was seen when 14-methyl sterols were used as a substrate. The function of the CYP protein and its C-terminal domain remain unknown.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00289-09
PMCID: PMC2715754  PMID: 19515774
10.  Identification, Characterization, and Azole-Binding Properties of Mycobacterium smegmatis CYP164A2, a Homolog of ML2088, the Sole Cytochrome P450 Gene of Mycobacterium leprae▿  
The genome sequence of Mycobacterium leprae revealed a single open reading frame, ML2088 (CYP164A1), encoding a putative full-length cytochrome P450 monooxygenase and 12 pseudogenes. We have identified a homolog of ML2088 in Mycobacterium smegmatis and report here the cloning, expression, purification, and azole-binding characteristics of this cytochrome P450 (CYP164A2). CYP164A2 is 1,245 bp long and encodes a protein of 414 amino acids and molecular mass of 45 kDa. CYP164A2 has 60% identity with Mycobacterium leprae CYP161A1 and 66 to 69% identity with eight other mycobacterial CYP164A1 homologs, with three identified highly conserved motifs. Recombinant CYP164A2 has the typical spectral characteristics of a cytochrome P450 monooxygenase, predominantly in the ferric low-spin state. Unusually, the spin state was readily modulated by increasing ionic strength at pH 7.5, with 50% high-spin occupancy achieved with 0.14 M NaCl. CYP164A2 bound clotrimazole, econazole, and miconazole strongly (Kd, 1.2 to 2.5 μM); however, strong binding with itraconazole, ketoconazole, and voriconazole was only observed in the presence of 0.5 M NaCl. Fluconazole did not bind to CYP164A2 at pH 7.5 and no discernible type II binding spectrum was observed.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01237-08
PMCID: PMC2650583  PMID: 19075057
11.  Genome-Wide Generation of Yeast Gene Deletion Strains 
In the year 2001 a collection of yeast strains will be completed that are deleted in the 6000 open reading frames selected as putative genes by the initial bioinformatic analysis of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome. The collection was produced by the transatlantic yeast gene deletion project, a collaboration involving researchers in the USA, Canada and Europe. The European effort was part of EUROFAN (European Functional Analysis Network) where some of the strains could feed into various functional analysis nodes dealing with specific areas of cell biology. With approximately 40% of human genes involved in heritable disease having a homologue in yeast and with the use of yeast in various drug discovery strategies, not least due to the dramatic increase in fungal infections, these strains will be valuable in trans-genomic studies and in specialised interest studies in individual laboratories. A detailed analysis of the project by the consortium is in preparation, here we discuss the yeast strains, reported findings and approaches to using this resource.
doi:10.1002/cfg.95
PMCID: PMC2447215  PMID: 18628917
12.  Export of Cytochrome P450 105D1 to the Periplasmic Space of Escherichia coli 
CYP105D1, a cytochrome P450 from Streptomyces griseus, was appended at its amino terminus to the secretory signal of Escherichia coli alkaline phosphatase and placed under the transcriptional control of the native phoA promoter. Heterologous expression in E. coli phosphate-limited medium resulted in abundant synthesis of recombinant CYP105D1 that was translocated across the bacterial inner membrane and processed to yield authentic, heme-incorporated P450 within the periplasmic space. Cell extract and whole-cell activity studies showed that the periplasmically located CYP105D1 competently catalyzed NADH-dependent oxidation of the xenobiotic compounds benzo[a]pyrene and erythromycin, further revealing the presence in the E. coli periplasm of endogenous functional redox partners. This system offers substantial advantages for the application of P450 enzymes to whole-cell biotransformation strategies, where the ability of cells to take up substrates or discard products may be limited.
doi:10.1128/AEM.67.5.2136-2138.2001
PMCID: PMC92847  PMID: 11319092
13.  The R467K Amino Acid Substitution in Candida albicans Sterol 14α-Demethylase Causes Drug Resistance through Reduced Affinity 
The cytochrome P450 sterol 14α-demethylase (CYP51) of Candida albicans is involved in an essential step of ergosterol biosynthesis and is the target for azole antifungal compounds. We have undertaken site-directed mutation of C. albicans CYP51 to produce a recombinant mutant protein with the amino acid substitution R467K corresponding to a mutation observed clinically. This alteration perturbed the heme environment causing an altered reduced-carbon monoxide difference spectrum with a maximum at 452 nm and reduced the affinity of the enzyme for fluconazole, as shown by ligand binding studies. The specific activity of CYP51(R467K) for the release of formic acid from 3β-[32-3H]hydroxylanost-7-en-32-ol was 70 pmol/nmol of P450/min for microsomal protein compared to 240 pmol/nmol of P450/min for microsomal fractions expressing wild-type CYP51. Furthermore, inhibition of activity by fluconazole revealed a 7.5-fold-greater azole resistance of the recombinant protein than that of the wild type. This study demonstrates that resistance observed clinically can result from the altered azole affinity of the fungal CYP51 enzyme.
PMCID: PMC89629  PMID: 10602724
14.  Purification, Reconstitution, and Inhibition of Cytochrome P-450 Sterol Δ22-Desaturase from the Pathogenic Fungus Candida glabrata 
Sterol Δ22-desaturase has been purified from a strain of Candida glabrata with a disruption in the gene encoding sterol 14α-demethylase (cytochrome P-45051; CYP51). The purified cytochrome P-450 exhibited sterol Δ22-desaturase activity in a reconstituted system with NADPH–cytochrome P-450 reductase in dilaurylphosphatidylcholine, with the enzyme kinetic studies revealing a Km for ergosta-5,7-dienol of 12.5 μM and a Vmax of 0.59 nmol of this substrate metabolized/min/nmol of P-450. This enzyme is encoded by CYP61 (ERG5) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and homologues have been shown in the Candida albicans and Schizosaccharomyces pombe genome projects. Ketoconazole, itraconazole, and fluconazole formed low-spin complexes with the ferric cytochrome and exhibited type II spectra, which are indicative of an interaction between the azole moiety and the cytochrome heme. The azole antifungal compounds inhibited reconstituted sterol Δ22-desaturase activity by binding to the cytochrome with a one-to-one stoichiometry, with total inhibition of enzyme activity occurring when equimolar amounts of azole and cytochrome P-450 were added. These results reveal the potential for sterol Δ22-desaturase to be an antifungal target and to contribute to the binding of drugs within the fungal cell.
PMCID: PMC89351  PMID: 10390230
15.  Multiple Molecular Mechanisms Contribute to a Stepwise Development of Fluconazole Resistance in Clinical Candida albicans Strains 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  1998;42(12):3065-3072.
From each of two AIDS patients with oropharyngeal candidiasis, five Candida albicans isolates from recurrent episodes of infection which became gradually resistant against fluconazole during antimycotic treatment were analyzed for molecular changes responsible for drug resistance. In both patients, a single C. albicans strain was responsible for the recurrent infections, but the CARE-2 fingerprint pattern of the isolates exhibited minor genetic alterations, indicating that microevolution of the strains took place during fluconazole therapy. In the isolates from patient 1, enhanced mRNA levels of the MDR1 gene, encoding a multiple drug resistance protein from the superfamily of major facilitators, and constitutive high expression of the ERG11 gene, coding for the drug target enzyme sterol 14α-demethylase, correlated with a stepwise development of fluconazole resistance. The resistant strains exhibited reduced accumulation of fluconazole and, for the last in the series, a slight increase in drug needed to inhibit sterol 14α-demethylation in vitro. In the isolates from patient 2, increased MDR1 mRNA levels and the change from heterozygosity to homozygosity for a mutant form of the ERG11 gene correlated with continuously decreased drug susceptibility. In this series, reduced drug accumulation and increased resistance in the target enzyme activity, sterol 14α-demethylase, were observed. These results demonstrate that different molecular mechanisms contribute to a gradual development of fluconazole resistance in C. albicans.
PMCID: PMC106000  PMID: 9835492

Results 1-15 (15)