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Biochemistry. 2006 Apr 4;45(13):4199-209.

Resolution of multiple substrate binding sites in cytochrome P450 3A4: the stoichiometry of the enzyme-substrate complexes probed by FRET and Job's titration.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, 301 University Boulevard, Texas 77555, USA.


To explore the mechanism of homotropic cooperativity in human cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) we studied the interactions of the enzyme with 1-pyrenebutanol (1-PB), 1-pyrenemethylamine (PMA), and bromocriptine by FRET from the substrate fluorophore to the heme, and by absorbance spectroscopy. These approaches combined with an innovative setup of titration-by-dilution and continuous variation (Job's titration) experiments allowed us to probe the relationship between substrate binding and the subsequent spin transition caused by 1-PB or bromocriptine or the type-II spectral changes caused by PMA. The 1-PB-induced spin shift in CYP3A4 reveals prominent homotropic cooperativity, which is characterized by a Hill coefficient of 1.8 +/- 0.3 (S50 = 8.0 +/- 1.1 microM). In contrast, the interactions of CYP3A4 with bromocriptine or PMA reveal no cooperativity, exhibiting KD values of 0.31 +/- 0.08 microM and 7.1 +/- 2.3 microM, respectively. The binding of all three substrates monitored by FRET in titration-by-dilution experiments at an enzyme:substrate ratio of 1 reveals a simple bimolecular interaction with KD values of 0.16 +/- 0.09, 4.8 +/- 1.4, and 0.18 +/- 0.09 microM for 1-PB, PMA, and bromocriptine, respectively. Correspondingly, Job's titration experiments showed that the 1-PB-induced spin shift reflects the formation of a complex of the enzyme with two substrate molecules, while bromocriptine and PMA exhibit 1:1 binding stoichiometry. Combining the results of Job's titrations with the value of KD obtained in our FRET experiments, we demonstrate that the interactions of CYP3A4 with 1-PB obey a sequential binding mechanism, where the spin transition is triggered by the binding of 1-PB to the low-affinity site, which becomes possible only upon saturation of the high-affinity site.

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