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Biochemistry. 2002 Jul 30;41(30):9438-47.

Differential effect of copper (II) on the cytochrome P450 enzymes and NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase: inhibition of cytochrome P450-catalyzed reactions by copper (II) ion.

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AngioLab, Pai-Chai University, Taejon 302-735, Republic of Korea.


Inhibitory effects of Cu(2+) on the cytochrome P450 (P450)-catalyzed reactions of liver microsomes and reconstituted systems containing purified P450 and NADPH-P450 reductase (NPR) were seen. However, Zn(2+), Mg(2+), Mn(2+), Ca(2+), and Co(2+) had no apparent effects on the activities of microsomal P450s. Cu(2+) inhibited the reactions catalyzed by purified P450s 1A2 and 3A4 with IC(50) values of 5.7 and 8.4 microM, respectively. Cu(2+) also inhibited reduction of cytochrome c by NPR (IC(50) value of 5.8 microM). Copper caused a decrease in semiquinone levels of NPR, although it did not disturb the rate of formation of semiquinone. P450 reactions supported by an oxygen surrogate, tert-butyl hydroperoxide, instead of NPR and NADPH, were inhibited by the presence of Cu(2+). The results indicate that Cu(2+) inhibits the P450-catalyzed reactions by affecting both P450s and NPR. It was also found that the inhibition of catalytic activities of P450s by Cu(2+) involves overall conformational changes of P450s and NPR, investigated by CD and intrinsic fluorescence spectroscopy. These results suggest that the inhibitory effect of Cu(2+) on the P450-catalyzed reactions may come from the inability of an efficient electron transfer from NPR to P450 and also the dysfunctional conformation of NPR and P450.

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