Metabolism of 4-Aminopiperidine Drugs by Cytochrome P450s: Molecular and Quantum Mechanical Insights into Drug Design

ACS Med Chem Lett. 2011 Aug 11;2(8):638-643. doi: 10.1021/ml200117z. Epub 2011 Jun 18.


4-Aminopiperidines are a variety of therapeutic agents that are extensively metabolized by cytochrome P450s with CYP3A4 as a major isoform catalyzing their N-dealkylation reaction. However, its catalytic mechanism has not been fully elucidated in a molecular interaction level. Here, we applied theoretical approaches including the molecular mechanics-based docking to study the binding patterns and quantum mechanics-based reactivity calculations. They were supported by the experimental human liver microsomal clearance and P450 isoform phenotyping data. Our results herein suggested that the molecular interactions between substrates and CYP3A4 active site residues are essential for the N-dealkylation of 4-aminopiperidines. We also found that the serine 119 residue of CYP3A4 may serve as a key hydrogen-bonding partner to interact with the 4-amino groups of the studied drugs. The reactivity of the side chain α-carbon hydrogens drives the direction of catalysis as well. As a result, structure-based drug design approaches look promising to guide drug discovery programs into the optimized drug metabolism space.