Optimization of yeast-expressed human liver cytochrome P450 3A4 catalytic activities by coexpressing NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase and cytochrome b5

Eur J Biochem. 1992 Jul 1;207(1):109-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.1992.tb17027.x.


Human liver P450 NF25 (CYP3A4) had been previously expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae using the inducible GAL10-CYC1 promoter and the phosphoglycerate kinase gene terminator [Renaud, J. P., Cullin, C., Pompon, D., Beaune, P. and Mansuy, D. (1990) Eur. J. Biochem. 194, 889-896]. The use of an improved expression vector [Urban, P., Cullin, C. and Pompon, D. (1990) Biochimie 72, 463-472] increased the amounts of P450 NF25 produced/culture medium by a factor of five, yielding up to 10 nmol/l. The availability of recently developed host cells that simultaneously overexpress yeast NADPH-P450 reductase and/or express human liver cytochrome b5, obtained through stable integration of the corresponding coding sequences into the yeast genome, led to biotechnological systems with much higher activities of yeast-expressed P450 NF25 and with much better ability to form P450 NF25-iron-metabolite complexes. 9-fold, 8-fold, and 30-fold rate increases were found respectively for nifedipine 1,4-oxidation, lidocaine N-deethylation and testosterone 6 beta-hydroxylation between P450 NF25-containing yeast microsomes from the basic strain and from the strain that both overexpresses yeast NADPH-P450 reductase and expresses human cytochrome b5. Even higher turnovers (15-fold, 20-fold and 50-fold rate increases) were obtained using P450 NF25-containing microsomes from the yeast just overexpressing yeast NADPH-P450 reductase in the presence of externally added, purified rabbit liver cytochrome b5. This is explained by the fact that the latter strain contained the highest level of NADPH-P450 reductase activity. It is noteworthy that for the three tested substrates, the presence of human or rabbit cytochrome b5 always showed a stimulating effect on the catalytic activities and this effect was saturable. Indeed, addition of rabbit cytochrome b5 to microsomes from a strain expressing human cytochrome b5 did not further enhance the catalytic rates. The yeast expression system was also used to study the formation of a P450-NF25-iron-metabolite complex. A P450 Fe(II)-(RNO) complex was obtained upon oxidation of N-hydroxyamphetamine, catalyzed by P450-NF25-containing yeast microsomes. In microsomes from the basic strain expressing P450 NF25, 10% of the starting P450 NF25 was transformed into this metabolite complex, whereas more than 80% of the starting P450 NF25 led to complex formation in microsomes from the strain overexpressing yeast NADPH-P450 reductase.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Cytochromes b5 / genetics
  • Cytochromes b5 / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Microsomes, Liver / enzymology
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism*
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase / genetics
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase / metabolism*
  • Rabbits
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Cytochromes b5
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase