Mechanistic elucidation of amphetamine metabolism by tyramine oxidase from human gut microbiota using molecular dynamics simulations

J Cell Biochem. 2019 Jan 30. doi: 10.1002/jcb.28396. Online ahead of print.


The human gut harbors diverse bacterial species in the gut, which play an important role in the metabolism of food and host health. Recent studies have also revealed their role in altering the pharmacological properties and efficacy of oral drugs through promiscuous metabolism. However, the atomistic details of the enzyme-drug interactions of gut bacterial enzymes which can potentially carry out the metabolism of drug molecules are still scarce. A well-known example is the FDA drug amphetamine (a central nervous system stimulant), which has been predicted to undergo promiscuous metabolism by gut bacteria. Therefore, to understand the atomistic details and energy landscape of the gut microbial enzyme-mediated metabolism of this drug, molecular dynamics studies were performed. It was observed that amphetamine binds to tyramine oxidase from the Escherichia coli strain present in the human gut microbiota at the binding site harboring polar and nonpolar amino acids. The stability analysis of amphetamine at the binding site showed that the binding is stable and the free energy for the binding of amphetamine was found to be ~ -51.71 kJ/mol. The insights provided by this study on promiscuous metabolism of amphetamine by a gut enzyme will be very useful to improve the efficacy of the drug.

Keywords: amphetamine; free energy for the binding; gut microbiota; molecular dynamics simulation.