Structures of cytochrome P450 2B4 complexed with the antiplatelet drugs ticlopidine and clopidogrel

Biochemistry. 2010 Oct 12;49(40):8709-20. doi: 10.1021/bi100914z. Epub 2010 Sep 15.


Prior X-ray crystal structures of rabbit cytochrome P450 2B4 (2B4) in complexes with various imidazoles have demonstrated markedly different enzyme conformations depending on the size of the inhibitor occupying the active site. In this study, structures of 2B4 were determined with the antiplatelet drugs clopidogrel and ticlopidine, which were expected to have greater freedom of movement in the binding pocket. Ticlopidine could be modeled into the electron density maps in two distinct orientations, both of which are consistent with metabolic data gathered with other mammalian P450 enzymes. Results of ligand docking and heme-induced NMR relaxation of drug protons showed that ticlopidine was preferentially oriented with the chlorophenyl group closest to the heme. Because of its stereocenter, clopidogrel was easier to fit in the electron density and exhibited a single orientation, which points the chlorophenyl ring toward the heme. The C(α) traces of both complexes aligned very well with each other and revealed a compact, closed structure that resembles the conformation observed in two previously determined 2B4 structures with the small molecule inhibitors 4-(4-chlorophenyl)imidazole and 1-(4-chlorophenyl)imidazole. The 2B4 active site is able to accommodate small ligands by moving only a small number of side chains, suggesting that ligand reorientation is energetically favored over protein conformational changes for binding of these similarly sized molecules. Adjusting both protein conformation and ligand orientation in the active site gives 2B4 the flexibility to bind to the widest range of molecules, while also being energetically favorable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / chemistry*
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / metabolism*
  • Clopidogrel
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Cytochrome P450 Family 2
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Protein Binding
  • Rabbits
  • Ticlopidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ticlopidine / chemistry
  • Ticlopidine / pharmacology*


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Clopidogrel
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • Cytochrome P450 Family 2
  • cytochrome P-450 CYP2B4 (rabbit)
  • Ticlopidine

Associated data

  • PDB/3KW4
  • PDB/3ME6