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The microsomal, membrane-bound, human cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2C9 is a liver-specific monooxygenase essential for drug metabolism. CYPs require electron transfer from the membrane-bound CYP reductase (CPR) for catalysis. The structural details and functional relevance of the CYP-membrane interaction are not understood. From multiple coarse grained molecular simulations started with arbitrary configurations of protein-membrane complexes, we found two predominant orientations of CYP2C9 in the membrane, both consistent with experiments and conserved in atomic-resolution simulations. The dynamics of membrane-bound and soluble CYP2C9 revealed correlations between opening and closing of different tunnels from the enzyme's buried active site. The membrane facilitated the opening of a tunnel leading into it by stabilizing the open state of an internal aromatic gate. Other tunnels opened selectively in the simulations of product-bound CYP2C9. We propose that the membrane promotes binding of liposoluble substrates by stabilizing protein conformations with an open access tunnel and provide evidence for selective substrate access and product release routes in mammalian CYPs. The models derived here are suitable for extension to incorporate other CYPs for oligomerization studies or the CYP reductase for studies of the electron transfer mechanism, whereas the modeling procedure is generally applicable to study proteins anchored in the bilayer by a single transmembrane helix. © 2011 Cojocaru et al.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002152

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS Computational Biology

Publication Date

01/08/2011

Volume

7