Coupled Motions Direct Electrons along Human Microsomal P450 Chains

Pudney, Christopher R.; Khara, Basile; Johannissen, Linus O.; Scrutton, Nigel S.
December 2011
PLoS Biology;Dec2011, Vol. 9 Issue 12, p1
Academic Journal
Protein domain motion is often implicated in biological electron transfer, but the general significance of motion is not clear. Motion has been implicated in the transfer of electrons from human cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR) to all microsomal cytochrome P450s (CYPs). Our hypothesis is that tight coupling of motion with enzyme chemistry can signal ''ready and waiting'' states for electron transfer from CPR to downstream CYPs and support vectorial electron transfer across complex redox chains. We developed a novel approach to study the time-dependence of dynamical change during catalysis that reports on the changing conformational states of CPR. FRET was linked to stopped-flow studies of electron transfer in CPR that contains donor-acceptor fluorophores on the enzyme surface. Open and closed states of CPR were correlated with key steps in the catalytic cycle which demonstrated how redox chemistry and NADPH binding drive successive opening and closing of the enzyme. Specifically, we provide evidence that reduction of the flavin moieties in CPR induces CPR opening, whereas ligand binding induces CPR closing. A dynamic reaction cycle was created in which CPR optimizes internal electron transfer between flavin cofactors by adopting closed states and signals ''ready and waiting'' conformations to partner CYP enzymes by adopting more open states. This complex, temporal control of enzyme motion is used to catalyze directional electron transfer from NADPH→FAD→FMN→heme, thereby facilitating all microsomal P450-catalysed reactions. Motions critical to the broader biological functions of CPR are tightly coupled to enzyme chemistry in the human NADPH-CPR-CYP redox chain. That redox chemistry alone is sufficient to drive functionally necessary, large-scale conformational change is remarkable. Rather than relying on stochastic conformational sampling, our study highlights a need for tight coupling of motion to enzyme chemistry to give vectorial electron transfer along complex redox chains.


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