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Drug Metab Rev. 2009;41(4):573-643. doi: 10.1080/03602530903118729.

New insights into the structural characteristics and functional relevance of the human cytochrome P450 2D6 enzyme.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Guangdong Women and Children's Hospital, Guangzhou, China.


To date, the crystal structures of at least 12 human CYPs (1A2, 2A6, 2A13, 2C8, 2C9, 2D6, 2E1, 2R1, 3A4, 7A1, 8A1, and 46A1) have been determined. CYP2D6 accounts for only a small percentage of all hepatic CYPs (< 2%), but it metabolizes approximately 25% of clinically used drugs with significant polymorphisms. CYP2D6 also metabolizes procarcinogens and neurotoxins, such as 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine, 1,2,3,4-tetrahydroquinoline, and indolealkylamines. Moreover, the enzyme utilizes hydroxytryptamines and neurosteroids as endogenous substrates. Typical CYP2D6 substrates are usually lipophilic bases with an aromatic ring and a nitrogen atom, which can be protonated at physiological pH. Substrate binding is generally followed by oxidation (5-7 A) from the proposed nitrogen-Asp301 interaction. A number of homology models have been constructed to explore the structural features of CYP2D6, while antibody studies also provide useful structural information. Site-directed mutagenesis studies have demonstrated that Glu216, Asp301, Phe120, Phe481, and Phe483 play important roles in determining the binding of ligands to CYP2D6. The structure of human CYP2D6 has been recently determined and shows the characteristic CYP fold observed for other members of the CYP superfamily. The lengths and orientations of the individual secondary structural elements in the CYP2D6 structure are similar to those seen in other human CYP2 members, such as CYP2C9 and 2C8. The 2D6 structure has a well-defined active-site cavity located above the heme group with a volume of approximately 540 A(3), which is larger than equivalent cavities in CYP2A6 (260 A(3)), 1A2 (375 A(3)), and 2E1 (190 A(3)), but smaller than those in CYP3A4 (1385 A(3)) and 2C8 (1438 A(3)). Further studies are required to delineate the molecular mechanisms involved in CYP2D6 ligand interactions and their implications for drug development and clinical practice.

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