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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Molecular basis for the transport of cytochrome P450 2E1 to the plasma membrane.

Endoplasmic reticulum-resident cytochrome P450 enzymes that face the cytosol are present on the plasma membrane of hepatocytes, but the molecular origin for their transport to this compartment has until now remained unknown. The molecular basis for the transport of rat ethanol-inducible cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) to the plasma membrane was investigated by transfection of several different mutant cDNAs into mouse H2.35 hepatoma cells. Two NH(2)-terminal CYP2E1 mutants were constructed: N(++)2E1, which carried two positive charges in the NH(2) terminus, and 2C-2E1, in which the transmembrane domain of CYP2E1 was replaced with that of CYP2C1, which was previously described to cause retention of CYP2C1 in the endoplasmic reticulum, as well as CYP2E1 COOH-terminally tagged with the vesicular stomatitis virus G protein (VSV-G) epitope (2E1-VSV-G). Immunofluorescent microscopy and cell surface biotinylation experiments revealed that all CYP2E1 variants were present on the extracellular side of the plasma membrane. The VSV-G epitope on CYP2E1 was detected on the outside of the plasma membrane using VSV-G-specific antibodies, indicating that the large COOH-terminal part of CYP2E1 is indeed exposed on the outside of the plasma membrane. The relative levels of CYP2E1, 2C-2E1, and 2E1-VSV-G on the cell surface were found to be about 2% of total cellular enzyme, whereas twice this amount of N(++)2E1 was recovered at the cell surface. Protease protection experiments performed on microsomes isolated from cDNA transfected cells revealed that a small fraction of CYP2E1 and all variant proteins was found to be located in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum (type II orientation), whereas the majority of the proteins were in the expected cytosolic or type I orientation. It is concluded that the NH(2)-terminal transmembrane domain of CYP2E1 plays a critical role in directing the protein to the cell surface and that topological inversion of a small fraction of CYP2E1 in the endoplasmic reticulum directs the protein to the plasma membrane.[1]


  1. Molecular basis for the transport of cytochrome P450 2E1 to the plasma membrane. Neve, E.P., Ingelman-Sundberg, M. J. Biol. Chem. (2000) [Pubmed]
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