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J Biol Chem. 2003 May 9;278(19):17178-84. Epub 2003 Feb 27.

A rational approach to Re-engineer cytochrome P450 2B1 regioselectivity based on the crystal structure of cytochrome P450 2C5.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555-1031, USA.


The regioselectivity for progesterone hydroxylation by cytochrome P450 2B1 was re-engineered based on the x-ray crystal structure of cytochrome P450 2C5. 2B1 is a high K(m) progesterone 16alpha-hydroxylase, whereas 2C5 is a low K(m) progesterone 21-hydroxylase. Initially, nine individual 2B1 active-site residues were changed to the corresponding 2C5 residues, and the mutants were purified from an Escherichia coli expression system and assayed for progesterone hydroxylation. At 150 microm progesterone, I114A, F297G, and V363L showed 5-15% of the 21-hydroxylase activity of 2C5, whereas F206V showed high activity for an unknown product and a 13-fold decrease in K(m). Therefore, a quadruple mutant, I114A/F206V/F297G/V363L (Q), was constructed that showed 60% of 2C5 progesterone 21-hydroxylase activity and 57% regioselectivity. Based on their 2C5-like testosterone hydroxylation profiles, S294D and I477F alone and in combination were added to the quadruple mutant. All three mutants showed enhanced regioselectivity (70%) for progesterone 21-hydroxylation, whereas only Q/I477F had a higher k(cat). Finally, the remaining three single mutants, V103I, V367L, and G478V, were added to Q/I477F and Q/S294D/I477F, yielding seven additional multiple mutants. Among these, Q/V103I/S294D/I477F showed the highest k(cat) (3-fold higher than that of 2C5) and 80% regioselectivity for progesterone 21-hydroxylation. Docking of progesterone into a three-dimensional model of this mutant indicated that 21-hydroxylation is favored. In conclusion, a systematic approach to convert P450 regioselectivity across subfamilies suggests that active-site residues are mainly responsible for regioselectivity differences between 2B1 and 2C5 and validates the reliability of 2B1 models based on the crystal structure of 2C5.

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