Characterisation of orphan cytochrome P450s from Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv

  • Nur Dayana Binti Nisbar

Student thesis: Phd


Tuberculosis is a disease that kills more people every year than any other infectious disease and is caused by the human pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). This disease can be treated by a standard six month course of four antimicrobial drugs that have been in use since the 1960s. However, the rise of multi-drug resistant and extensively drug-resistant strains of TB has complicated the efforts to eradicate the disease. Therefore, there is a critical need for the development of new anti-TB drugs with a novel mechanism of action that can speed up treatment duration and help avoid resistance. The discovery of twenty genes encoding cytochrome P450 enzymes in the Mtb H37Rv genome sequence has pointed to the significance of these enzymes in the physiology and pathogenicity of this bacterium. Consequently, the characterisation of these Mtb P450 enzymes may define their physiological roles of which can be a novel anti-tubercular drug target. To date, the characterisations of selected Mtb P450 enzymes have highlighted their diverse and unexpected roles in the metabolism of cholesterol and lipids and the production of secondary metabolites. Biochemical and biophysical studies of these enzymes provided knowledge of their active site properties that may be exploited for drug discovery. Therefore, with the prospect of defining novel functions and identifying novel drug targets, characterisations of the remaining orphan Mtb P450s is of interest. M. tuberculosis CYP141A1 and CYP143A1 are orphan enzymes with unknown physiological function in Mtb which is characterised in this study through use of various spectroscopic and biophysical techniques. Interestingly, CYP141A1 can be expressed in form of which 54 amino acids (Del54CYP141A1) are deleted from the N-terminus. Although Del54CYP141A1 still retain spectroscopic characteristics, this form of P450 cannot be crystallized. Optimisation of full-length CYP141A1 buffer composition resulted to the formation of reproducible crystals and determination of CYP141A1 structure. Spectroscopic and structural characterisations presented in this thesis revealed many characteristics of CYP141A1 and CYP143A1 are comparable to previous Mtb P450s reported to date. CYP141A1 and CYP143A1 active site consist of b-type heme iron ligated by cysteine residue and a water molecule at its proximal and distal face, respectively. Both enzymes bind tightly to azole antifungal drugs highlighting their potential as a drug target. In addition, fragment-based screening applied to CYP141A1 and CYP143A1 provided the starting point for the development of potent, isoform-specific inhibitors for both orphan Mtb P450 enzymes. The first crystal structure of CYP141A1 and identification of new fragment binders of CYP141A1 and CYP143A1 are presented in this thesis. Overall, this research remains significant in providing new knowledge on the spectroscopic and structural properties of the M. tuberculosis P450s CYP141A1 and CYP143A1.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAndrew Munro (Supervisor) & David Leys (Supervisor)


  • Fragment-based drug discovery
  • Tuberculosis
  • Cytochrome P450

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