Midazolam as a Probe for Heterotropic Drug-Drug Interactions Mediated by CYP3A4

Ilia G. Denisov, Yelena V. Grinkova, Mark A. McLean, Tyler Camp, Stephen G. Sligar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human cytochrome P450 CYP3A4 is involved in the processing of more than 35% of current pharmaceuticals and therefore is responsible for multiple drug-drug interactions (DDI). In order to develop a method for the detection and prediction of the possible involvement of new drug candidates in CYP3A4-mediated DDI, we evaluated the application of midazolam (MDZ) as a probe substrate. MDZ is hydroxylated by CYP3A4 in two positions: 1-hydroxy MDZ formed at lower substrate concentrations, and up to 35% of 4-hydroxy MDZ at high concentrations. The ratio of the formation rates of these two products (the site of metabolism ratio, SOM) was used as a measure of allosteric heterotropic interactions caused by effector molecules using CYP3A4 incorporated in lipid nanodiscs. The extent of the changes in the SOM in the presence of effectors is determined by chemical structure and is concentration-dependent. MD simulations of CYP3A4 in the lipid bilayer suggest that experimental results can be explained by the movement of the F-F’ loop and concomitant changes in the shape and volume of the substrate-binding pocket. As a result of PGS binding at the allosteric site, several residues directly contacting MDZ move away from the substrate molecule, enabling the repositioning of the latter for minor product formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number853
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • drug interactions
  • nanodiscs
  • allosteric interactions
  • midazolam
  • cytochrome P450 CYP3A4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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