, a bio/informatics shared resource is still "open for business" - Visit the CDS website
Cytochrome P450 21A2 is a key player in steroid 21-hydroxylation and converts progesterone to 11-deoxycorticosterone and 17α-hydroxy progesterone to 11-deoxycortisol. More than 100 mutations in P450 21A2 have been established in patients thus far; these account for the vast majority of occurrences of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), which is among the most common heritable metabolic diseases in humans. CAH phenotypes range from the most severe, salt-wasting (SW), to the simple virilizing (SV), and nonclassical (NC) CAH forms. We recently determined the crystal structure of human P450 21A2 in complex with progesterone. To gain more insight into the structural and stability changes underlying the phenotypes of individual mutations, we analyzed 24 SW, SV, and NC mutants in the context of the crystal structure of the human enzyme. Our analysis reveals clear differences in the localization of SW, SV, and NC mutations, with many of the first type mapping to the active site and near the heme and/or substrate and mostly resulting in complete loss of enzyme activity. Conversely, NC mutations are often found near the periphery and close to the surface of the protein, and mutant enzymes retain partial activity. The main conclusion from the mutation-structure-activity study is that the severity of the CAH clinical manifestations can be directly correlated with the degree of mutation-induced damage in terms of protein fold stability and active site changes in the structural model. Thus, the NC phenotype is typically associated with mutations that have a compensatory effect, ie, H-bonding replacing hydrophobic interactions and vice versa.