Cytochrome P450c17-expressing Escherichia coli as a first-step screening system for 17α-hydroxylase-C17,20-lyase inhibitors

Dmitry N. Grigoryev, Katsuya Kato, Vincent C.O. Njar, Brian J. Long, Yang Zhi Ling, Xin Wang, James Mohler, Angela M.H. Brodie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have designed and synthesized a number of cytochrome P450 17α- hydroxylase-C17,20-lyase (P450c17) inhibitors with the aim of inhibiting androgen synthesis. To select the most potent inhibitors, we initially used human testicular microsomes, which have a high level of expression of this enzyme. However, due to lack of availability of human tissue and variability among the samples, we utilized recombinant human enzyme expressed in Escherichia coli. We designed a simple and economical protocol based on the report that recombinant bovine P450c17 can be functionally active in live bacteria. In the assay we report here, we substituted high-performance liquid chromatography product isolation with a rapid biochemical acetic acid releasing assay and utilized intact P450c17-expressing E. coli for the source of the enzyme. Enzymatic parameters of the bacterial system (K(m) = 5.1 x 10-7 M, V(max) = 15.0 pmol/min/mg) were similar to those of human testicular microsomes (K(m) = 4.8 x 10-7 M, V(max) = 40.0 pmol/min/mg), and our compounds displayed a similar pattern of inhibition in both systems. This new system is a fast, reliable, and reproducible method for screening P450c17 inhibitors. Furthermore, it eliminates our dependence on human tissue and potential data fluctuations caused by variations in enzymatic activity between donors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-330
Number of pages12
JournalAnalytical biochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 15 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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