Cytochrome P450 2D18 in the mammalian brain: Recombinant expression, purification, and characterization of xenobiotic and endobiotic metabolism

Chadwick Moore Thompson, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The cytochromes P450 (P450) comprise a superfamily of hemoproteins that function in concert with NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase (P450-reductase) to metabolize both endogenous and exogenous compounds. Many pharmacological agents undergo phase I metabolism by this P450 and P450-reductase monooxygenase system. Phase I metabolism ensures that these highly hydrophobic xenobiotics are made more hydrophilic, and hence easier to extrude from the body. While the majority of phase I metabolism occurs in the liver, metabolism in extrahepatic organ-systems like the intestine, kidney, and brain can have important roles in drug metabolism and/or efficacy. While P450-mediated phase I metabolism has been well studied, investigators have only recently begun to elucidate what physiological roles P450 may have. One way to approach this question is to study P450s that are highly or specifically expressed in extrahepatic tissues. In this project I have studied the role of a recently cloned P450 family member, P450 2D18, that was previously shown to be expressed in the rat brain and kidney, but not in the liver. To this end, I have used the baculovirus expression system to over-express recombinant P450 2D18 and purified the functional enzyme using nickel and hydroxylapatite chromatography. SDS-PAGE analysis indicated that the enzyme was purified to electrophoretic homogeneity and Western analysis showed cross-reactivity with rabbit anti-human P450 2D6. Carbon monoxide difference spectra indicated that the purified protein contained no denatured P450 enzyme; this allowed for further characterization of the substrates and metabolites formed by P450 2D18-mediated metabolism. Because P450 2D18 is expressed in brain, we characterized the activity toward several psychoactive drugs including the antidepressants imipramine and desipramine, and the anti-psychotic drugs chlorpromazine and haloperidol. P450 2D18 preferentially catalyzed the N-demethylation of imipramine, desipramine, and chlorpromazine. This is interesting given the fact that other P450 isoforms form multiple metabolites from such compounds. This limited metabolic profile might suggest that P450 2D18 has some unique function, or perhaps a role in endobiotic metabolism. Further analysis of possible endogenous substrates for P450 2D18 led to the identification of dopamine and arachidonic acid as substrates. It was shown that P450 2D18 catalyzes the oxidation of dopamine to aminochrome, and that the enzyme binds dopamine with an apparent KS value of 678 μM, a value well within reported dopamine concentration in brain dopaminergic systems. Further, it was shown that P450 2D18 binds arachidonic acid with an apparent KS value of 148 μM, and catalyzes both the ω-hydroxylation and epoxygenation of arachidonic acid to metabolites that have been shown to have vasoactive properties in brain, kidney, and heart tissues. These data provide clues for endogenous roles of P450 within the brain, and possible involvement in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease.

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Recommended Citation

Thompson, Chadwick Moore, "Cytochrome P450 2D18 in the mammalian brain: Recombinant expression, purification, and characterization of xenobiotic and endobiotic metabolism" (1999). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9942098.