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7-Ethoxy (OEt) coumarin has been used as a model substrate in many cytochrome P450 (P450) studies, including the use of kinetic isotope effects to probe facets of P450 kinetics. P450s 1A2 and 2E1 are known to be the major catalysts of 7-OEt coumarin O-deethylation in human liver microsomes. Human P450 1A2 also catalyzed 3-hydroxylation of 7-methoxy (OMe) coumarin at appreciable rates but P450 2E1 did not. Intramolecular kinetic isotope effects were used as estimates of the intrinsic kinetic deuterium isotope effects for both 7-OMe and 7-OEt coumarin dealkylation reactions. The apparent intrinsic isotope effect for P450 1A2 (9.4 for O-demethylation, 6.1 for O-deethylation) showed little attenuation in other competitive and noncompetitive experiments. With P450 2E1, the intrinsic isotope effect (9.6 for O-demethylation, 6.1 for O-deethylation) was attenuated in the noncompetitive intermolecular experiments. High noncompetitive intermolecular kinetic isotope effects were seen for 7-OEt coumarin O-deethylation in a baculovirus-based microsomal system and five samples of human liver microsomes (7.3-8.1 for O-deethylation), consistent with the view that P450 1A2 is the most efficient P450 catalyzing this reaction in human liver microsomes and indicating that the C-H bond-breaking step makes a major contribution to the rate of this P450 (1A2) reaction. Thus, the rate-limiting step appears to be the chemistry of the breaking of this bond by the activated iron-oxygen complex, as opposed to steps involved in the generation of the reactive complex. The conclusion about the rate-limiting step applies to all of the systems studied with this model P450 1A2 reaction including human liver microsomes, the most physiologically relevant.
Human cytochrome P450 (P450) 2A6 catalyzes 7-hydroxylation of coumarin, and the reaction rate is enhanced by cytochrome b5 (b5). 7-Alkoxycoumarins were O-dealkylated and also hydroxylated at the 3-position. Binding of coumarin and 7-hydroxycoumarin to ferric and ferrous P450 2A6 are fast reactions (k(on) approximately 10(6) m(-1) s(-1)), and the k(off) rates range from 5.7 to 36 s(-1) (at 23 degrees C). Reduction of ferric P450 2A6 is rapid (7.5 s(-1)) but only in the presence of coumarin. The reaction of the ferrous P450 2A6 substrate complex with O2 is rapid (k > or = 10(6) m(-1) s(-1)), and the putative Fe2+.O2 complex decayed at a rate of approximately 0.3 s(-1) at 23 degrees C. Some 7-hydroxycoumarin was formed during the oxidation of the ferrous enzyme under these conditions, and the yield was enhanced by b5. Kinetic analyses showed that approximately 1/3 of the reduced b5 was rapidly oxidized in the presence of the Fe2+.O2 complex, implying some electron transfer. High intrinsic and competitive and non-competitive intermolecular kinetic deuterium isotope effects (values 6-10) were measured for O-dealkylation of 7-alkoxycoumarins, indicating the effect of C-H bond strength on rates of product formation. These results support a scheme with many rapid reaction steps, including electron transfers, substrate binding and release at multiple stages, and rapid product release even though the substrate is tightly bound in a small active site. The inherent difficulty of chemistry of substrate oxidation and the lack of proclivity toward a linear pathway leading to product formation explain the inefficiency of the enzyme relative to highly efficient bacterial P450s.
Cytochrome P-450 (P-450) 2A6 was purified by chromatography of human liver microsomes. The final preparation was electrophoretically homogeneous and contained 16 nmol of P-450/mg of protein. The amino-terminal amino acid sequence of the protein (first 13 residues) matched that of the reported cDNA exactly. The UV-visible spectrum indicated that the isolated hemoprotein was in the low-spin form. The protein was recognized by rabbit antibodies raised against rat P-450 2A1, and a rabbit antiserum against the P-450 2A6 preparation was also prepared. With these antibodies, it was estimated that P-450 2A6 accounted for a maximum of 1% of the total P-450 present in the human liver microsomes; the level varied greater than 100-fold among the 20 samples examined. Purified P-450 2A6 catalyzed coumarin 7-hydroxylation and 7-ethoxycoumarin O-deethylation at rates similar to those measured in the human liver sample used to prepare P-450 2A6, and these two microsomal activities were strongly inhibited by the antibodies. The purified P-450 2A6 enzyme also catalyzed low levels of 4,4'-methylene-bis(2-chloroaniline) (MOCA) N-oxidation and activation of aflatoxin B1, 6-aminochrysene, 2-amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline, and 2-amino-3,5-dimethylimidazo [4,5-f]quinoline to genotoxic products; the antibody inhibited the activity of purified P-450 2A6 towards aflatoxin B1 and 6-aminochrysene but did not inhibit these reactions in human liver microsomes (MOCA N-oxidation was inhibited approximately 20%). Human P-450 2A6 did not catalyze testosterone 7 alpha-hydroxylation, a characteristic activity of the related rat P-450 2A1 protein. These results emphasize the need to characterize individual P-450 enzymes in order to understand their functions in the context of more complex systems.