CYP2A6 is known as a major cytochrome P450 (CYP) responsible for the oxidation of nicotine and coumarin in humans. In this study, we explored genetic polymorphisms, which reduce CYP2A6 activity in Japanese. Two novel mutations in exon 9 of the CYP2A6 gene were found. A single nucleotide polymorphism of T1412C and G1454T resulted in Ile471Thr and Arg485Leu substitution, respectively. The frequency of the former variant allele was considerably high (15.7%), while the latter variant appeared to be a rare polymorphism. Heterologous expression of CYP2A6 using a cDNA possessing C instead of T-base at codon 471 in Escherichia coli caused remarkable reduction of the stability of holoenzyme at 37 degrees C. Furthermore, this variant enzyme almost lacked nicotine C-oxidase activity, although coumarin 7-hydroxylase activity was still observed. These data suggest that individuals homozygous for the T1412C variant allele or heterozygous for this and a defect allele such as the CYP2A6*4 may be poor metabolizer of nicotine, but not coumarin.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.