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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2001 Dec;299(3):825-31.

Identification of variants of CYP3A4 and characterization of their abilities to metabolize testosterone and chlorpyrifos.

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  • 1National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


CYP3A4 is the most abundant isoform of cytochrome P450 (CYP) in adult human liver. It metabolizes numerous clinically, physiologically, and toxicologically important compounds. The expression of CYP3A4 varies 40-fold in individual human livers, and metabolism of CYP3A4 substrates varies at least 10-fold in vivo. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CYP3A4 were identified by direct sequencing of genomic DNA in 72 individuals from three different ethnic groups, including Caucasians, Blacks (African-Americans and African pygmies), and Asians. A total of 28 SNPs were identified, including five which produced coding changes M445T (CYP3A4*3), R162Q (CYP3A4*15), F189S (CYP3A4*17), L293P (CYP3A4*18), and P467S (CYP3A4*19). The latter four represent new alleic variants. Racial variability was observed for the frequency of individual SNPs. CYP3A R162Q was identified only in Black populations with an allelic frequency of 4%. CYP3A4 F189S and CYP3A4 M445T were identified in Caucasians with allelic frequencies 2% and 4%, respectively. L293P and P467S were only observed in Asians at allelic frequencies of 2%. The cDNAs for the F189S, L293P, M445T, and P467S mutant alleles were constructed by site-directed mutagenesis and expressed in an Escherichia coli expression system. Testosterone and the insecticide chlorpyrifos were used to assess the catalytic activities of the most common CYP3A4 allele (CYP3A4*1) and its allelic variants. CYP3A4 F189S exhibited lower turnover numbers for testosterone and chlorpyrifos, while CYP3A4 L293P had higher turnover numbers for both substrates. The turnover numbers of the CYP3A4 M445T and P467S alleles to metabolize these compounds were not significantly different from those of wild-type CYP3A4.

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