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author:("Jiang, wenhui")
1.  Structural Basis for the Functional Roles of Critical Residues in Human Cytochrome P450 Aromatase 
Biochemistry  2013;52(34):5821-5829.
Cytochrome P450 aromatase (CYP19A1) is the only enzyme known to catalyze the biosynthesis of estrogens from androgens. The crystal structure of human placental aromatase (pArom) has paved the way toward understanding the structure–function relationships of this remarkable enzyme. Using an amino terminus-truncated recombinant human aromatase (rArom) construct, we investigate the roles of key amino acids in the active site, at the intermolecular interface, inside the access channel, and at the lipid–protein boundary for their roles in enzyme function and higher-order organization. Replacing the active site residue D309 with an N yields an inactive enzyme, consistent with its proposed involvement in aromatization. Mutation of R192 at the lipid interface, pivotal to the proton relay network in the access channel, results in the loss of enzyme activity. In addition to the distal catalytic residues, we show that mutation of K440 and Y361 of the heme-proximal region critically interferes with substrate binding, enzyme activity, and heme stability. The D–E loop deletion mutant Del7 that disrupts the intermolecular interaction significantly reduces enzyme activity. However, the less drastic Del4 and point mutants E181A and E181K do not. Furthermore, native gel electrophoresis, size-exclusion chromatography, and analytical ultracentrifugation are used to show that mutations in the intermolecular interface alter the quaternary organization of the enzyme in solution. As a validation for interpretation of the mutational results in the context of the innate molecule, we determine the crystal structure of rArom to show that the active site, tertiary, and quaternary structures are identical to those of pArom.
PMCID: PMC3799952  PMID: 23899247
2.  Novel Aromatase Inhibitors by Structure-Guided Design 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2012;55(19):8464-8476.
Human cytochrome P450 aromatase catalyzes with high specificity the synthesis of estrogens from androgens. Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) such as exemestane, 6-methylideneandrosta-1,4-diene-3,17-dione, are preeminent drugs for the treatment of estrogen-dependent breast cancer. The crystal structure of human placental aromatase has shown an androgen-specific active site. By utilization of the structural data, novel C6-substituted androsta-1,4-diene-3,17-dione inhibitors have been designed. Several of the C6-substituted 2-alkynyloxy compounds inhibit purified placental aromatase with IC50 values in the nanomolar range. Antiproliferation studies in a MCF-7 breast cancer cell line demonstrate that some of these compounds have EC50 values better than 1 nM, exceeding that for exemestane. X-ray structures of aromatase complexes of two potent compounds reveal that, per their design, the novel side groups protrude into the opening to the access channel unoccupied in the enzyme–substrate/exemestane complexes. The observed structure–activity relationship is borne out by the X-ray data. Structure-guided design permits utilization of the aromatase-specific interactions for the development of next generation AIs.
PMCID: PMC3469775  PMID: 22951074
3.  A shared parameter model for the estimation of longitudinal concomitant intervention effects 
Biostatistics (Oxford, England)  2011;12(4):737-749.
We investigate a change-point approach for modeling and estimating the regression effects caused by a concomitant intervention in a longitudinal study. Since a concomitant intervention is often introduced when a patient's health status exhibits undesirable trends, statistical models without properly incorporating the intervention and its starting time may lead to biased estimates of the intervention effects. We propose a shared parameter change-point model to evaluate the pre- and postintervention time trends of the response and develop a likelihood-based method for estimating the intervention effects and other parameters. Application and statistical properties of our method are demonstrated through a longitudinal clinical trial in depression and heart disease and a simulation study.
PMCID: PMC3202304  PMID: 21262930
Change-point model; Concomitant intervention; Likelihood; Longitudinal study; Shared parameter model
4.  Higher Order Organization of Human Placental Aromatase 
Steroids  2011;76(8):753-758.
Aromatase (CYP19A1) is an integral membrane enzyme that catalyzes the removal of the 19-methyl group and aromatization of the A-ring of androgens. All human estrogens are synthesized from their androgenic precursors by this unique cytochrome P450. The crystal structure of active aromatase purified from human placenta has recently been determined in complex with its natural substrate androstenedione in the high-spin ferric state of heme. Hydrogen bond forming interactions and tight packing hydrophobic side chains closely complement puckering of the steroid backbone, thereby providing the molecular basis for the androgenic specificity of aromatase. In the crystal, aromatase molecules are linked by a head-to-tail intermolecular interaction via a surface loop between helix D and helix E of one aromatase molecule that penetrates the heme-proximal cavity of the neighboring, crystallographically-related molecule, thus forming in tandem a polymeric aromatase chain. This intermolecular interaction is similar to the aromatase-Cytochrome P450 reductase coupling and is driven by electrostatics between the negative potential surface of the D-E loop region and the positively charged heme-proximal cavity. This loop-to-proximal site link in aromatase is rather unique - there are only a few of examples of somewhat similar intermolecular interactions in the entire P450 structure database. Furthermore, the amino acids involved in the intermolecular contact appear to be specific for aromatase. Higher order organization of aromatase monomers may have implications in lipid integration and catalysis.
PMCID: PMC3217041  PMID: 21392520
5.  Motion and Flexibility in Human Cytochrome P450 Aromatase 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32565.
The crystal structures of human placental aromatase in complex with the substrate androstenedione and exemestane have revealed an androgen-specific active site and the structural basis for higher order organization. However, X-ray structures do not provide accounts of movements due to short-range fluctuations, ligand binding and protein-protein association. In this work, we conduct normal mode analysis (NMA) revealing the intrinsic fluctuations of aromatase, deduce the internal modes in membrane-free and membrane-integrated monomers as well as the intermolecular modes in oligomers, and propose a quaternary organization for the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane integration. Dynamics of the crystallographic oligomers from NMA is found to be in agreement with the isotropic thermal factors from the X-ray analysis. Calculations of the root mean square fluctuations of the C-alpha atoms from their equilibrium positions confirm that the rigid-core structure of aromatase is intrinsic regardless of the changes in steroid binding interactions, and that aromatase self-association does not deteriorate the rigidity of the catalytic cleft. Furthermore, NMA on membrane-integrated aromatase shows that the internal modes in all likelihood contribute to breathing of the active site access channel. The collective intermolecular hinge bending and twisting modes provide the flexibility in the quaternary association necessary for membrane integration of the aromatase oligomers. Taken together, fluctuations of the active site, the access channel, and the heme-proximal cavity, and a dynamic quaternary organization could all be essential components of the functional aromatase in its role as an ER membrane-embedded steroidogenic enzyme.
PMCID: PMC3288111  PMID: 22384274

Results 1-5 (5)