The three-dimensional modelling of proteins is a useful tool to fill the gap between the number of sequenced proteins and the number of experimentally known 3D structures. However, when the degree of homology between the protein and the available 3D templates is low, model building becomes a difficult task and the reliability of the results depends critically on the correctness of the sequence alignment. For this reason, we have undertaken the modelling of human cytochrome P450 1A2 starting by a careful analysis of several sequence alignment strategies (multiple sequence alignments and the TOPITS threading technique). The best results were obtained using TOPITS followed by a manual refinement to avoid unlikely gaps. Because TOPITS uses secondary structure predictions, several methods that are available for this purpose (Levin, Gibrat, DPM, NnPredict, PHD, SOPM and NNSP) have also been evaluated on cytochromes P450 with known 3D structures. More reliable predictions on α-helices have been obtained with PHD, which is the method implemented in TOPITS. Thus, a 3D model for human cytochrome P450 1A2 has been built using the known crystal coordinates of P450 BM3 as the template. The model was refined using molecular mechanics computations. The model obtained shows a consistent location of the substrate recognition segments previously postulated for the CYP2 family members. The interaction of caffeine and a carcinogenic aromatic amine (MeIQ), which are characteristic P450 1A2 substrates, has been investigated. The substrates were solvated taking into account their molecular electrostatic potential distributions. The docking of the solvated substrates in the active site of the model was explored with the AUTODOCK programme, followed by molecular mechanics optimisation of the most interesting complexes. Stable complexes were obtained that could explain the oxidation of the considered substrates by cytochrome P450 1A2 and could offer an insight into the role played by water molecules.
- Assessment of secondary structure prediction methods
- Molecular electrostatic potential
- Sequence alignment strategies