NADPH-cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (CPR) serves as the electron donor to almost all eukaryotic cytochromes P450. It belongs to a small family of diflavin proteins and is built of cofactor binding domains with high structural homology to those of bacterial flavodoxins and to ferredoxin-NADP(+) oxidoreductases. CPR shuttles electrons from NADPH through the FAD and FMN-cofactors into the central heme-group of the P450s. Mobile domains in CPR are essential for electron transfer between FAD and FMN and for P450 interaction. Blast searches identified 54 full-length gene sequences encoding CPR derived from a total of 35 different plant species. CPRs from vascular plants cluster into two major phylogenetic groups. Depending on the species, plants contain one, two or three paralogs of which one is inducible. The nature of the CPR-P450 interacting domains is well conserved as demonstrated by the ability of CPRs from different species or even from different kingdoms to at least partially complement each other functionally. This makes CPR an ideal bio-brick in synthetic biology approaches to re-design or develop entirely different combinations of existing biological systems to gain improved or completely altered functionalities based on the "share your parts" principle.
2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.