Molecular modeling of the non-covalent binding of the dietary tomato carotenoids lycopene and lycophyll, and selected oxidative metabolites with 5-lipoxygenase

Bioorg Med Chem. 2006 Oct 15;14(20):6859-67. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2006.06.045. Epub 2006 Jul 11.


Numerous studies on human prostate cancer cell lines indicate a role for arachidonic acid (AA) and its oxidative metabolites in prostate cancer proliferation. The metabolism of AA by either the cyclooxygenase (COX) or the lipoxygenase (LOX) pathways generates eicosanoids involved in tumor promotion, progression, and metastasis. In particular, products of the 5-LOX pathway (including 5-HETE and 5-oxo-EET) have been implicated as potential 'survival factors' that may confer escape after androgen withdrawal therapy through fatty-acid (i.e., AA) drive. Potent natural dietary antioxidant compounds such as lycopene and lycophyll, with tissue tropism for human prostate, have been shown to be effective in ameliorating generalized oxidative stress at the DNA level. Suppressing the 5-LOX axis pharmacologically is also a promising avenue for intervention in human patients. The recently recognized direct interaction of the astaxanthin-based soft-drug Cardax to human 5-LOX with molecular modeling, and the downregulation of both 5-HETE and 5-oxo-EET in vivo in a murine peritonitis model, suggest that other important dietary carotenoids may share this enzyme regulatory feature. In the current study, the acyclic tomato carotene lycopene (in all-trans and 5-cis isomeric configurations) and its natural dihydroxy analog lycophyll (also present in tomato fruit) were subjected to molecular modeling calculations in order to investigate their predicted binding interaction(s) with human 5-LOX. Two bioactive oxidative metabolites of lycopene (4-methyl-8-oxo-2,4,6-nonatrienal and 2,7,11-trimethyl-tetradecahexaene-1,14-dial) were also investigated. A homology model of 5-LOX was constructed using 8-LOX and 15-LOX structures as templates. The model was validated by calculating the binding energy of Cardax to 5-LOX, which was demonstrated to be in good agreement with the published experimental data. Blind docking calculations were carried out in order to explore the possible binding sites of the carotenoids on 5-LOX, followed by focused docking to more accurately calculate the predicted energy of binding. Lycopene and lycophyll were predicted to bind with high affinity in the superficial cleft at the interface of the beta-barrel and the catalytic domain of 5-LOX (the 'cleavage site'). Carotenoid binding at this cleavage site provides the structural rationale by which polyenic compounds could modify the 5-LOX enzymatic function via an allosteric mechanism, or by radical scavenging in proximity to the active center. In addition, the two bioactive metabolites of lycopene were predicted to bind to the catalytic site with high affinity--therefore suggesting potential direct competitive inhibition of 5-LOX activity that should be shared by both lycopene and lycophyll after in vivo supplementation, particularly in the case of the dial metabolite.

MeSH terms

  • Arachidonate 5-Lipoxygenase / chemistry*
  • Binding Sites
  • Carotenoids / chemistry*
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Ligands
  • Lycopene
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / chemistry*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Ligands
  • Carotenoids
  • lycophyll
  • Arachidonate 5-Lipoxygenase
  • Lycopene