Although homodimerization of UGT1A proteins is well established, direct evidence for dimerization of UGT2B7, which is arguably the most important enzyme involved in human drug glucuronidation, is currently lacking. This study characterized UGT2B7 homodimerization by co-immunopreciptation and generated a UGT2B7 homology model that identified the dimerization domain. It was demonstrated that co-expressed, solubilized UGT2B7 proteins differentially tagged with hemagglutinin (UGT2B7-HA) and c-MYC (UGT2B7-cMYC) co-immunoprecipitated as active homodimers that catalyzed 4-methylumbelliferone glucuronidation. Substrate binding affinities (assessed as S(50) values) of the tagged and co-expressed tagged proteins were essentially identical to that of native UGT2B7. Co-association was not observed in a 'mixed' UGT2B7-HA and UGT2B7-cMYC protein preparation. Generation of a UGT2B7 homology model established from plant and human templates was achieved using SYBYLX1.2 with all residues energy minimized using the Tripos Force Field. The UGT2B7 model allowed elucidation of a putative protein dimerization domain within the B'-C loop of each UGT2B7 monomer. The eighteen amino acid dimerization domain is present in all UGT2B enzymes and comprises a proposed dimerization signature motif (FPPSYVPVVMS). Stabilization of the dimer interface is maintained by the formation of two salt bridges, aromatic π-π stacking interactions, two S-aromatic (face) interactions, and the presence of 'proline brackets'. The homology model further provides important insights into structure-function relationships of this enzyme and the mechanism responsible for the atypical glucuronidation kinetics for substrates of UGT2B7 and other human UGT enzymes.
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