Insights into the Genetic Variations of Human Cytochrome P450 2C9: Structural Analysis, Characterization and Comparison

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Sep 22;22(19):10206. doi: 10.3390/ijms221910206.


Cytochromes P450 (CYP) are one of the major xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes with increasing importance in pharmacogenetics. The CYP2C9 enzyme is responsible for the metabolism of a wide range of clinical drugs. More than sixty genetic variations have been identified in CYP2C9 with many demonstrating reduced activity compared to the wild-type (WT) enzyme. The CYP2C9*8 allele is predominantly found in persons of African ancestry and results in altered clearance of several drug substrates of CYP2C9. The X-ray crystal structure of CYP2C9*8, which represents an amino acid variation from arginine to histidine at position 150 (R150H), was solved in complex with losartan. The overall conformation of the CYP2C9*8-losartan complex was similar to the previously solved complex with wild type (WT) protein, but it differs in the occupancy of losartan. One molecule of losartan was bound in the active site and another on the surface in an identical orientation to that observed in the WT complex. However, unlike the WT structure, the losartan in the access channel was not observed in the *8 complex. Furthermore, isothermal titration calorimetry studies illustrated weaker binding of losartan to *8 compared to WT. Interestingly, the CYP2C9*8 interaction with losartan was not as weak as the CYP2C9*3 variant, which showed up to three-fold weaker average dissociation constant compared to the WT. Taken together, the structural and solution characterization yields insights into the similarities and differences of losartan binding to CYP2C9 variants and provides a useful framework for probing the role of amino acid substitution and substrate dependent activity.

Keywords: cytochrome P450; drug metabolism; structural biology.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Substitution / genetics
  • Binding Sites / genetics
  • Catalytic Domain / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C9 / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C9 / metabolism
  • Genetic Variation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Inactivation, Metabolic / genetics*
  • Inactivation, Metabolic / physiology
  • Losartan / metabolism*
  • Protein Conformation


  • CYP2C9 protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C9
  • Losartan