Human cytochrome P450 (P450) 11B2 catalyzes the formation of aldosterone, the major endogenous human mineralocorticoid. Aldosterone is important for the regulation of electrolyte homeostasis. Mutations and overexpression of P450 11B2 (also known as aldosterone synthase) can lead to hypertension, congestive heart failure, and diabetic nephropathy. The enzyme is therefore a target for drug development to manage these various disorders. P450 11B2 catalyzes aldosterone formation from 11-deoxycorticosterone through three distinct oxidation steps. It is currently unknown to which degree these reactions happen in sequence without the intermediate products dissociating from the enzyme ( processively) or whether these reactions happen solely distributively, in which the intermediate products must first dissociate and then rebind to the enzyme before subsequent oxidation. We present here a comprehensive investigation of processivity in P450 11B2-catalyzed reactions using steady-state, pre-steady-state, pulse-chase, equilibrium-binding titrations, and stopped-flow binding studies. We utilized the data obtained to develop a kinetic model for P450 11B2 and tested this model by enzyme kinetics simulations. We found that although aldosterone is produced processively, the enzyme preferentially utilizes a distributive mechanism that ends with the production of 18-OH corticosterone. This seemingly contradictory observation could be resolved by considering the ability of the intermediate product 18-OH corticosterone to exist as a lactol form, with the equilibrium favoring the ring-closed lactol configuration. In summary, our refined model for P450 11B2 catalysis indicates isomerization of the intermediate to a lactol can explain why P450 11B2 must produce aldosterone through a processive mechanism despite favoring a distributive mechanism.
© 2019 Reddish and Guengerich.