Mechanistic studies of mammalian cytochrome P450s are often obscured by the phase heterogeneity of solubilized preparations of membrane enzymes. The various protein-protein aggregation states of microsomes, detergent solubilized cytochrome or a family of aqueous multimeric complexes can effect measured substrate binding events as well as subsequent steps in the reaction cycle. In addition, these P450 monooxygenases are normally found in a membrane environment and the bilayer composition and dynamics can also effect these catalytic steps. Here, we describe the structural and functional characterization of a homogeneous monomeric population of cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP 3A4) in a soluble nanoscale membrane bilayer, or Nanodisc [Nano Lett. 2 (2002) 853]. Cytochrome P450 3A4:Nanodisc assemblies were formed and purified to yield a 1:1 ratio of CYP 3A4 to Nanodisc. Solution small angle X-ray scattering was used to structurally characterize this monomeric CYP 3A4 in the membrane bilayer. The purified CYP 3A4:Nanodiscs showed a heretofore undescribed high level of homotropic cooperativity in the binding of testosterone. Soluble CYP 3A4:Nanodisc retains its known function and shows prototypic hydroxylation of testosterone when driven by hydrogen peroxide. This represents the first functional characterization of a true monomeric preparation of cytochrome P450 monooxygenase in a phospholipid bilayer and elucidates new properties of the monomeric form. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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