A three-dimensional model of aromatase cytochrome P450.

Protein science : a publication of the Protein Society

PubMedID: 7549871

Graham-Lorence S, Amarneh B, White RE, Peterson JA, Simpson ER. A three-dimensional model of aromatase cytochrome P450. Protein Sci. 1995;4(6):1065-80.
P450 hemeproteins comprise a large gene superfamily that catalyzes monooxygenase reactions in the presence of a redox partner. Because the mammalian members are, without exception, membrane-bound proteins, they have resisted structure-function analysis by means of X-ray crystallographic methods. Among P450-catalyzed reactions, the aromatase reaction that catalyzes the conversion of C19 steroids to estrogens is one of the most complex and least understood. Thus, to better understand the reaction mechanism, we have constructed a three-dimensional model of P450arom not only to examine the active site and those residues potentially involved in catalysis, but to study other important structural features such as substrate recognition and redox-partner binding, which require examination of the entire molecule (excepting the putative membrane-spanning region). This model of P450arom was built based on a "core structure" identified from the structures of the soluble, bacterial P450s (P450cam, P450terp, and P450BM-P) rather than by molecular replacement, after which the less conserved elements and loops were added in a rational fashion. Minimization and dynamic simulations were used to optimize the model and the reasonableness of the structure was evaluated. From this model we have postulated a membrane-associated hydrophobic region of aliphatic and aromatic residues involved in substrate recognition, a redox-partner binding region that may be unique compared to other P450s, as well as residues involved in active site orientation of substrates and an inhibitor of P450arom, namely vorozole. We also have proposed a scheme for the reaction mechanism in which a "threonine switch" determines whether oxygen insertion into the substrate molecule involves an oxygen radical or a peroxide intermediate.