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Title: Investigating orphan cytochromes P450 from Mycobacterium tuberculosis : the search for potential drug targets
Author: Driscoll, Max
ISNI:       0000 0004 2703 4737
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2011
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Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that the World Health Organisation (WHO) regards as a global pandemic. There is a great need for new drugs to combat this threat. Drug resistant strains of the causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), have increased the urgency of this quest for novel anti-mycobacterial medicines. Publication of the Mtb genome sequence revealed a large number of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes [Cole, S. T. et al. 1998]. These mono-oxygenase enzymes have been studied for many years and are responsible for metabolic functions in every kingdom of life. Research on the Mtb P450s to date has highlighted several of them as having critcal roles within the organism. CYP121 and CYP128 have been implicated as essential through gene knockout studies. It has been demonstrated that CYP125 is not essential for viability. However, it is part of a gene cluster highly important for Mtb infectivity and virulence. Due to the prospective importance of P450s to Mtb, this group of enzymes is under investigation as a source of novel drug targets. CYP142 was discovered as a potential drug target after it was located to a gene cluster involved in cholesterol catabolism during Mtb dormancy. As part of this PhD project, it was demonstrated that CYP142 performs an almost identical role to that reported for CYP125. These enzymes both perform C27 hydroxylation and carboxylation of the cholesterol side chain. However, variations in the level of oxidation have been identified, dependent upon the redox system with which these P450s are associated. A crystal structure of CYP142 showing high similarity in active site architecture to CYP125 supports the physiological role of CYP142 in cholesterol catabolism. Combining this with in vitro data which demonstrates that CYP142 possesses high affinity for a range of azole anti-fungal agents [Ahmad, Z. et al. 2005, 2006] supports the suggestion that it is a candidate target for the next generation of anti-mycobacterial drugs. CYP144 was highlighted as being important during the latent phase of Mtb growth, a phase that is not targeted by any of the current antimycobacterials. Work performed as part of this PhD has shown that many characteristics of CYP144 are highly comparable to those reported for other MtbP450s. CYP144 shows high affinity and specificity towards many azole molecules. Econazole, clotrimazole and miconazole have repeatedly been shown to bind to MtbP450s, including CYP144 and CYP142, with high affinity and are excellent potential candidates as novel anti-mycobacterial agents. An N-terminally truncated form of CYP144, CYP144-T, has been investigated in the pursuit of a CYP144 crystal structure. It is hoped that this will enable the elucidation of a physiological role for CYP144. Both CYP142 and CYP144 have demonstrated biochemical and biophysical characteristics that contribute to our knowledge of P450 enzymes. This PhD has established that CYP142 exhibits an equilibrium between P450 and P420 species in its CO-bound, ferrous form. A conversion from P420, and stabilisation of P450, upon substrate binding was also demonstrated. CYP144 displays unusual azole coordination characteristics when examined by EPR and removal of the CYP144 gene from Mtb increased sensitivity of the strain to clotrimazole. Studies of these enzymes has advanced knowledge of P450 and Mtb redox chemistry, established roles for the MtbP450 cohort and identified the potential of anti-mycobacterial drugs and associated targets.
Supervisor: Munro, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tuberculosis ; Mycobacterium ; Mtb ; P450 ; Cytochrome ; CYP