ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-140220-22
Identification, modeling and ligand affinity of early deuterostome CYP51s, and functional characterization of recombinant zebrafish sterol 14α-demethylase
Morrison, A.M., Goldstone, J.V., Lamb, D.C., Kubota, A., Lemaire, B., and Stegeman, J.J.
Date: 2014
Source: Biochimica et biophysica acta. General subjects   1840(6): 1825-36 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Goldstone, Jed, Stegeman, John J.
Keywords: Azole inhibition, CYP51, Deuterostome, Sterol 14alpha-demethylase, Sterol biosynthesis, Zebrafish
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Male
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Recombinant Proteins/chemistry*
  • Sterol 14-Demethylase/chemistry*
  • Sterol 14-Demethylase/physiology
  • Sterols/biosynthesis
  • Zebrafish
PubMed: 24361620 Full text @ BBA General Subjects


Sterol 14α-demethylase (cytochrome P450 51, CYP51, P45014DM) is a microsomal enzyme that in eukaryotes catalyzes formation of sterols essential for cell membrane function and as precursors in biosynthesis of steroid hormones. Functional properties of CYP51s are unknown in non-mammalian deuterostomes.


PCR-cloning and sequencing and computational analyses (homology modeling and docking) addressed CYP51 in zebrafish Danio rerio, the reef fish sergeant major Abudefduf saxatilis, and the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Following N-terminal amino acid modification, zebrafish CYP51 was expressed in Escherichia coli, and lanosterol 14α-demethylase activity and azole inhibition of CYP51 activity were characterized using GC/MS.


Molecular phylogeny positioned S. purpuratus CYP51 at the base of the deuterostome clade. In zebrafish, CYP51 is expressed in all organs examined, most strongly in intestine. The recombinant protein bound lanosterol and catalyzed 14α-demethylase activity, at 3.2 nmol/min/nmol CYP51. The binding of azoles to zebrafish CYP51 gave KS (dissociation constant) values of 0.26 μM for ketoconazole and 0.64 μM for propiconazole. Displacement of carbon monoxide also indicated zebrafish CYP51 has greater affinity for ketoconazole. Docking to homology models showed that lanosterol docks in fish and sea urchin CYP51s with an orientation essentially the same as in mammalian CYP51. Docking of ketoconazole indicates it would inhibit fish and sea urchin CYP51s.


Biochemical and computational analyses are consistent with lanosterol being a substrate for early deuterostome CYP51s.

General significance

The results expand the phylogenetic view of animal CYP51, with evolutionary, environmental and therapeutic implications.