Chimpanzee: A predictive model for the human cytochrome P450 3A subfamily

Eric Trey Williams, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The human cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) subfamily is responsible for most of the metabolism of therapeutic drugs; however, an adequate in vivo model has yet to be discovered. This study begins with an investigation of a controversial topic surrounding the human CYP3As--estrogen regulation. A novel approach to this topic was used by defining expression in the estrogen-responsive endometrium. This study shows that estrogen down-regulates CYP3A4 expression in the endometrium. On the other hand, analogous studies showed an increase in CYP3A expression as age increases in liver tissue. Following the discussion of estrogen regulation, is an investigation of the cross-species relationships among all of the CYP3As was completed. The study compares isoforms from piscines, avians, rodents, canines, ovines, bovines, and primates. Using the traditional phylogenetic analyses and employing a novel approach using exon and intron lengths, the results show that only another primate could be the best animal model for analysis of the regulation of the expression of the human CYP3As. This analysis also demonstrated that the chimpanzee seems to be the best available human model. Moreover, the study showed the presence and similarities of one additional isoform in the chimpanzee genome that is absent in humans. Based on these results, initial characterization of the chimpanzee CYP3A subfamily was begun. While the human genome contains four isoforms--CYP3A4, CYP3A5, CYP3A7, and CYP3A43--the chimpanzee genome has five, the four previously mentioned and CYP3A67. Both species express CYP3A4, CYP3A5, and CYP3A43, but humans express CYP3A7 while chimpanzees express CYP3A67. In humans, CYP3A4 is expressed at higher levels than the other isoforms, but some chimpanzee individuals express CYP3A67 at higher levels than CYP3A4. Such a difference is expected to alter significantly the total CYP3A metabolism. On the other hand, any study considering individual isoforms would still constitute a valid method of study for the human CYP3A4, CYP3A5, and CYP3A43 isoforms.

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Recommended Citation

Williams, Eric Trey, "Chimpanzee: A predictive model for the human cytochrome P450 3A subfamily" (2006). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3249213.