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Crystal structures of human cytochrome P450 3A4 bound to metyrapone and progesterone.

Williams P.A., Cosme J., Vinkovic D.M., Ward A., Angove H.C., Day P.J., Vonrhein C., Tickle I.J., Jhoti H.

Cytochromes P450 (P450s) metabolize a wide range of endogenous compounds and xenobiotics, such as pollutants, environmental compounds, and drug molecules. The microsomal, membrane-associated, P450 isoforms CYP3A4, CYP2D6, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2E1, and CYP1A2 are responsible for the oxidative metabolism of more than 90% of marketed drugs. Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) metabolizes more drug molecules than all other isoforms combined. Here we report three crystal structures of CYP3A4: unliganded, bound to the inhibitor metyrapone, and bound to the substrate progesterone. The structures revealed a surprisingly small active site, with little conformational change associated with the binding of either compound. An unexpected peripheral binding site is identified, located above a phenylalanine cluster, which may be involved in the initial recognition of substrates or allosteric effectors.

Science 305:683-686(2004) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]