Efficient substrate screening and inhibitor testing of human CYP4Z1 using permeabilized recombinant fission yeast

Qi Yan, David Machalz, Andy Zöllner, Erik J. Sorensen, Gerhard Wolber, Matthias Bureik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


We have established a protocol for the preparation of permeabilized fission yeast cells (enzyme bags) that recombinantly express human cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs). A direct comparison of CYP3A4 activity gave an eightfold higher space-time yield for enzyme bag-catalyzed biotransformation as compared to whole-cell biotransformation, even though the total number of cells employed was lower by a factor of 150. Biotransformation of the luminogenic substrate Luciferin-H using CYP2C9-containing enzyme bags proceeded efficiently and stably for 24 h. CYP4Z1 is of interest because it is strongly overexpressed both in breast cancer cells and in breast cancer metastases; however, current knowledge about its catalytic properties is very limited. Screening of CYP4Z1-containing enzyme bags with 15 luminogenic substrates enabled us to identify two new hydroxylations and eleven ether cleavage reactions that are catalyzed by CYP4Z1. By far the best substrate found in this study was Luciferin benzyl ether (Luciferin-BE). On the basis of the recently published crystal structure of CYP4B1 we created a new homology model of CYP4Z1 and performed molecular docking experiments, which indicate that all active substrates show a highly similar binding geometry compared to the endogenous substrates. The model predicts that Ser113, Ser222, Asn381, and Ser383 are key hydrogen bonding residues. We also identified five new inhibitors of CYP4Z1: miconazole, econazole, aminobenzotriazole, tolazoline, and 1-benzylimidazole respectively, with the last compound being the most potent giving an IC50 value of 180 nM in our test system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-187
Number of pages14
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
StatePublished - Dec 15 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


  • Biotransformation
  • Ether cleavage
  • Fission yeast
  • Human cytochrome P450
  • Hydroxylation


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