Molecular docking of substrates and inhibitors in the catalytic site of CYP6B1, an insect cytochrome P450 monooxygenase

Jerome Baudry, Weimin Li, Liping Pan, May R. Berenbaum, Mary A. Schuler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Furanocoumarins represent plant toxins that are used in the treatment of a variety of skin diseases and are metabolized by cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s) existing in insects such as Papilio polyxenes (the black swallowtail). To elucidate the active site in the CYP6B1 protein that is the principal P450 existing in this species, we have constructed a homology model of it based on sequence and structure alignments with the bacterial CYP102 protein whose crystal structure has been defined and with the insect CYP6B4 protein that also metabolizes furanocoumarins. In the derived CYP6B1 model, Phe116 and His117 in SRS1, Phe371 in SRS5 and Phe484 in SRS6 contribute to the formation of a resonant network that stabilizes the P450's catalytic site and allows for interactions with its furanocoumarin substrates. The first two of these residues are absolutely conserved in all members of the insect CYP6B subfamily and the last two are variable in different members of the CYP6B subfamily. A combination of theoretical and experimental docking analyses of two substrates (xanthotoxin and bergapten) and two inhibitors (coumarin and pilocarpine) of this P450 provide significant information on the positioning of furanocoumarins within this catalytic pocket. Molecular replacement models based on the results of variations at two of these critical amino acids provide support for our furanocoumarin-docked model and begin to rationalize the altered substrate reactivities observed in experimental analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-587
Number of pages11
JournalProtein Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003


  • Furanocoumarin metabolism
  • Homology modeling
  • P450 monooxygenases
  • Substrate docking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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