Stereoselective hydrolysis of pyrethroid-like fluorescent substrates by human and other mammalian liver carboxylesterases

Huazhang Huang, Christopher D. Fleming, Kosuke Nishi, Matthew R. Redinbo, Bruce D. Hammock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Mammalian hepatic carboxylesterases (CEs) play important roles in the detoxification of ester-containing pyrethroids, which are widely used for the control of agricultural pests and disease vectors such as mosquitoes. Pyrethroids and pyrethroid-like fluorescent substrates exhibit a consistent pattern of stereoselective hydrolysis by a recombinant murine hepatic CE. We sought to understand whether this pattern is maintained in other hepatic CEs and to unravel the origin of the stereoselectivity. We found that all hepatic CEs tested displayed a consistent pattern of stereoselective hydrolysis: the chiral center(s) in the acid moiety more strongly influenced stereoselective hydrolysis than the chiral center in the alcohol moiety. For cypermethrin analogues with a cyclopropane ring in the acid moiety, trans-isomers were generally hydrolyzed faster than the corresponding cis-isomers. For fenvalerate analogues without a cyclopropane ring in the acid moiety, 2R-isomers were better substrates than 2S-isomers. These general hydrolytic patterns were examined by modeling the pyrethroid-like analogues within the active site of the crystal structure of human carboxylesterase 1 (hCE1). Stereoselective steric clashes were found to occur between the acid moieties and either the catalytic Ser loop (residues 219-225) or the oxyanion hole (residues 140-144). These clashes appeared to explain the stereopreference between trans- and cis-isomers of cypermethrin analogues, and the 2R- and 2S-isomers of fenvalerate analogues by hCE1. The implications these findings have on the design and use of effective pesticides are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1371-1377
Number of pages7
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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