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Theoretical Studies of Drug-Metabolizing Cytochrome P450 Enzymes

Time: Wed 2020-06-10 10.00

Location:, (English)

Subject area: Theoretical Chemistry and Biology

Doctoral student: Junhao Li , Teoretisk kemi och biologi

Opponent: Ulf Ryde, Lund University

Supervisor: Associate Professor (Universitetslektor) Yaoquan Tu, Teoretisk kemi och biologi

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The family of cytochrome P450 enzymes (P450s) belongs to one of the most important enzyme families in the human body. P450s are involved in the synthesis of endogenous compounds and metabolism of exogenous substances. In mammalian species, drug metabolizing P450s are anchored in the bilayer lipid membrane, which allows the enzymes to interact with other proteins and ligand molecules. A wealth of knowledge about the structures, functions, and mechanisms of P450s have been obtained from both experimental and theoretical studies. However, the mechanisms behind some experimental results, such as the regio- and stereoselectivity and structural flexibility are still elusive.

In this thesis, I present the work done in my doctoral studies, which was focused on the catalytic selectivity and structural flexibility of P450s. Multiple theoretical modeling approaches, such as homology modeling, molecular docking, molecular dynamics, quantum mechanics, and quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics, were applied in the studies. In papers I and II, the regio- and stereoselectivity of CYP4F2, CYP3A4, and CYP19A1 catalyzed C–H hydroxylation of different substrates were studied. The results indicate that the ligand reactivity and accessibility can be decisive for the regio- and stereoselectivity. However, which of them is more important is system-dependent. The quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics calculation results imply that the distribution of spin natural orbitals could be used for discriminating the roles of the reactivity and accessibility. In papers III and IV, the conformational dynamics of the open and closed structures of CYP2B4 and the ligand cooperativity phenomenon of midazolam metabolized by CYP3A4 were investigated using molecular dynamics simulations. From the simulation results, we identified the key residues for the conformational dynamics for the open-to-intermediate transition and found that the ligand cooperativity is also caused by the large flexibility of P450. The results also indicated that the homotropic cooperativity mainly occurs in the large and flexible productive site, rather than in the remote allosteric site.