Ortho-Methylarylamines as Time-Dependent Inhibitors of Cytochrome P450 1A1 Enzyme

Drug Metab Lett. 2017;10(4):270-277. doi: 10.2174/1872312810666161220155226.


Background: Members of the cytochrome P450 1A family metabolize many procarcinogens such as polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines. Inactivation of these enzymes is a prerequisite for cancer prevention and treatment in certain cases. Mechanism-based inhibition (time and co-factor dependent) is an effective method for the inactivation of these enzymes. Our recent study on emodin analogs revealed an anthraquinone with ortho-methylarylamine moiety that exhibited timedependent inhibition of P450 enzymes 1A1 and 1A2.

Methods: To determine whether the amino group or the methyl group or both were responsible for the time-dependent inhibition of these enzymes, a set of eleven compounds containing the orthomethylarylamine moiety were identified through a database search, and studied for the inhibition of the P450 enzymes 1A1, 1A2, 2A6 and 2B1. Our earlier studies on carbazole derivatives provided us with highly selective P450 1A2 inhibitors. Glycine scanning studies were performed on the docked proteinligand complexes of compounds 1-20 in order to understand the contribution of different protein residues towards the ligand binding.

Results: Four compounds were found to cause selective time-dependent inhibition of P450 1A1 with KI values ranging from 0.24 to 8.25 mM. These compounds exhibited only direct inhibition of P450 1A2. Molecular modeling studies of these molecules indicated that the shapes of the molecules, their binding modes, and the methyl substituent in close proximity (4.5-5.7 Å) to the heme-Fe all contributed to their selective time-dependent inhibition activity on P450 1A1. Glycine scanning studies for P450 1A1 indicated that ligand interaction with Phe123 was the strongest binding contributor and similar studies for P450 1A2 indicated that ligand interactions with the phenylalanine residues 226 and 260 were the largest binding contributors.

Conclusion: Four compounds have been identified that exhibit selective time-dependent inhibition of P450 1A1. Modeling studies have indicated that the proximity of the aromatic methyl group to the heme-Fe could be the main contributor for time-dependent inhibition. Future studies will focus on the confirmation of the involvement of the aromatic methyl group in enzyme inactivation.

Keywords: Carbazoles; cytochrome P450; docking; glycine scanning; ortho-methylarylamines; time-dependent inhibition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anthraquinones / pharmacology*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / metabolism*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A2 / metabolism*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A2 Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme Assays
  • Humans
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Ligands
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Phenylalanine / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Time Factors


  • Anthraquinones
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A2 Inhibitors
  • Ligands
  • Phenylalanine
  • CYP1A1 protein, human
  • CYP1A2 protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A2