Year of Publication


Document Type



Graduate School



First Advisor

Todd D. Porter


NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase is the electron transfer partner for the cytochromes P450, heme oxygenase, and squalene monooxygenase, and is a component of the nitric oxide synthases and methionine synthase reductase. P450 reductase shows very high selectivity for NADPH and uses NADH only poorly. Substitution of tryptophan 677 with alanine (W677A) has been shown by others to yield a 3-fold increase in turnover with NADH, but profound inhibition by NADP+ makes the enzyme unsuitable for in vivo applications. In the present study site-directed mutagenesis of amino acids in the 2'-phosphate-binding site of the NADPH domain, coupled with the W677A substitution, was used to generate a reductase that was able to use NADH efficiently in vivo without inhibition by NADP+. Of 11 single, double, and triple mutant proteins, two (R597M/W677A and R597M/K602W/W677A) showed up to a 500-fold increase in catalytic efficiency (kcat/Km) with NADH. Inhibition by NADP+ was reduced by up to four orders of magnitude relative to the W677A protein and was equal to or less than that of the wild-type reductase. Both proteins were 2- to 3-fold more active than wild-type reductase with NADH in reconstitution assays with cytochrome P450 1A2 and with squalene monooxygenase. In a recombinant cytochrome P450 2E1 Ames bacterial mutagenicity assay the R597M/W677A protein increased the sensitivity to dimethylnitrosamine by approximately 2-fold, suggesting that the ability to use NADH afforded a significant advantage in this in vivo assay. In addition to providing a valuable tool for understanding the determinants of nucleotide cofactor specificity in this and related enzymes, these mutants might also lend themselves to creation of bioremediation schemes with increased enzymatic activity and robustness in situ, as well as cost-effective reconstitution of enzyme systems in vitro that do not require the use of expensive reducing equivalents from NADPH.