Viciano, Ignacio; Castillo, Raquel; Marti, Sergio
QM/MM modeling of the hydroxylation of the androstenedione substrate catalyzed by cytochrome P450 aromatase (CYP19A1)

CYP19A1 aromatase is a member of the Cytochrome P450 family of hemeproteins, and is the enzyme responsible for the final step of the androgens conversion into the corresponding estrogens, via a three-step oxidative process. For this reason, the inhibition of this enzyme plays an important role in the treatment of hormone-dependent breast cancer. The first catalytic subcycle, corresponding to the hydroxilation of androstenedione, has been proposed to occur through a first hydrogen abstraction and a subsequent oxygen rebound step. In present work, we have studied the mechanism of the first catalytic subcycle by means of hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics methods. The inclusion of the protein flexibility has been achieved by means of Free Energy Perturbation techniques, giving rise to a free energy of activation for the hydrogen abstraction step of 13.5 kcal/mol. The subsequent oxygen rebound step, characterized by a small free energy barrier (1.5 kcal/mol), leads to the hydroxylated products through a highly exergonic reaction. In addition, an analysis of the primary deuterium kinetic isotopic effects, calculated for the hydrogen abstraction step, reveals values (approximate to 10) overpassing the semiclassical limit for the CH, indicating the presence of a substantial tunnel effect. Finally, a decomposition analysis of the interaction energy for the substrate and cofactor in the active site is also discussed. According to our results, the role of the enzymatic environment consists of a transition state stabilization by means of dispersive and polarization effects. (c) 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


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