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The Challenges of Dealing with Promiscuous Drug-Metabolizing Enzymes, Receptors and Transporters

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Unlike classical enzymes, drug-metabolizing enzymes (DMEs), such as the liver microsomal cytochrome P450, UDP-glucuronyltransferase, epoxide hydrolase, and flavin-containing monooxygenase, all exhibit broad substrate specificities, low turnover rates, atypical kinetics, and other unusual properties. Receptors (the pregnane X receptor, NR1I2; the constitutive androstane receptor, NR1I3; and the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor) responsible for the induction of DMEs and transporters (P-glycoprotein) responsible for drug transport also have broad substrate specificities. These promiscuous proteins are all intimately involved in drug disposition. Promiscuous proteins, by definition, are known for diversity, but not specificity, in their interaction with drugs. In this review, we analyzed recent advances on the three dimensional structures and kinetic properties of DMD proteins from crystallography, mutational, and kinetic studies to gain insights into the structural and biochemical basis for the promiscuous ligand-protein interactions of the proteins. Large substrate-binding cavities (SBCs), binding of more than one substrate/effector and binding of substrates in alternative orientations and locations within the SBCs, rotation of a substrate at the active site, and substantial substrate-induced conformational changes of the SBCs are common features of the promiscuous DMEs, receptors, and transporters, and therefore, are important parameters to be considered in dealing with drug metabolism issues and safety evaluation of drugs and environmental chemicals.

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Keywords: P450; Promiscuity; crystal structure; drug interaction; drug metabolism; drug transporter; drug-metabolizing enzymes; receptor

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • Current Drug Metabolism aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in drug metabolism and disposition. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of timely reviews in drug metabolism. Current Drug Metabolism is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments. The journal covers the following areas:

    In vitro systems including CYP-450; enzyme induction and inhibition; drug-drug interactions and enzyme kinetics; pharmacokinetics, toxicokinetics, species scaling and extrapolations; P-glycoprotein and transport carriers; target organ toxicity and interindividual variability; drug metabolism and disposition studies; extrahepatic metabolism; phase I and phase II metabolism; recent developments for the identification of drug metabolites and adducts.
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