Identification of amino acid determinants in CYP4B1 for optimal catalytic processing of 4-ipomeanol

Constanze Wiek, Eva M. Schmidt, Katharina Roellecke, Marcel Freund, Mariko Nakano, Edward J. Kelly, Wolfgang Kaisers, Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy, Christof M. Kramm, Allan E. Rettie, Helmut Hanenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Mammalian CYP4B1 enzymes are cytochrome P450 mono-oxygenases that are responsible for the bioactivation of several exogenous pro-toxins including 4-ipomeanol (4-IPO). In contrast with the orthologous rabbit enzyme, we show here that native human CYP4B1 with a serine residue at position 427 is unable to bioactivate 4-IPO and does not cause cytotoxicity in HepG2 cells and primary human T-cells that overexpress these enzymes. We also demonstrate that a proline residue in the meander region at position 427 in human CYP4B1 and 422 in rabbit CYP4B1 is important for protein stability and rescues the 4-IPO bioactivation of the human enzyme, but is not essential for the catalytic activity of the rabbit CYP4B1 protein. Systematic substitution of native and p.S427P human CYP4B1 with peptide regions from the highly active rabbit enzyme reveals that 18 amino acids in the wild-type rabbit CYP4B1 protein are key for conferring high 4-IPO metabolizing activity. Introduction of 12 of the 18 amino acids that are also present at corresponding positions in other human CYP4 family members into the p.S427P human CYP4B1 protein results in a mutant human enzyme (P + 12) that is as stable and as active as the rabbit wild-type CYP4B1 protein. These 12 mutations cluster in the predicted B-C loop through F-helix regions and reveal new amino acid regions important to P450 enzyme stability. Finally, by minimally re-engineering the human CYP4B1 enzyme for efficient activation of 4-IPO, we have developed a novel human suicide gene system that is a candidate for adoptive cellular therapies in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-114
Number of pages12
JournalBiochemical Journal
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • 4-ipomeanol
  • Cytochrome P450 4B1 (CYP4B1)
  • Suicide gene system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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