High-resolution crystal structure of cytochrome P450cam

J Mol Biol. 1987 Jun 5;195(3):687-700. doi: 10.1016/0022-2836(87)90190-2.


The crystal structure of Pseudomonas putida cytochrome P450cam with its substrate, camphor, bound has been refined to R = 0.19 at a normal resolution of 1.63 A. While the 1.63 A model confirms our initial analysis based on the 2.6 A model, the higher resolution structure has revealed important new details. These include a more precise assignment of sequence to secondary structure, the identification of three cis-proline residues, and a more detailed picture of substrate-protein interactions. In addition, 204 ordered solvent molecules have been found, one of which appears to be a cation. The cation stabilizes an unfavorable polypeptide conformation involved in forming part of the active site pocket, suggesting that the cation may be the metal ion binding site associated with the well-known ability of metal ions to enhance formation of the enzyme-substrate complex. Another unusual polypeptide conformation forms the proposed oxygen-binding pocket. A localized distortion and widening of the distal helix provides a pocket for molecular oxygen. An intricate system of side-chain to backbone hydrogen bonds aids in stabilizing the required local disruption in helical geometry. Sequence homologies strongly suggest a common oxygen-binding pocket in all P450 species. Further sequence comparisons between P450 species indicate common three-dimensional structures with changes focused in a region of the molecule postulated to be associated with the control of substrate specificity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Camphor
  • Crystallography
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System*
  • Heme
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Oxygen
  • Protein Conformation
  • Pseudomonas / analysis


  • Heme
  • Camphor
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Oxygen