The Mycobacterium tuberculosis cytochromes P450: physiology, biochemistry & molecular intervention

Kirsty J. McLean, James Belcher, Max D. Driscoll, Christine C. Fernandez, Duyet Le Van, Soi Bui, Marina Golovanova, Andrew W. Munro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) encodes 20 cytochrome P450 (P450) enzymes. Gene essentiality for viability or host infection was demonstrated for Mtb P450s CYP128, CYP121 and CYP125. Structure/function studies on Mtb P450s revealed key roles contributing to bacterial virulence and persistence in the host. Various azole-class drugs bind with high affinity to the Mtb P450 heme and are potent Mtb antibiotics. This paper reviews the current understanding of the biochemistry of Mtb P450s, their interactions with azoles and their potential as novel Mtb drug targets. Mtb multidrug resistance is widespread and novel therapeutics are desperately needed. Simultaneous drug targeting of several Mtb P450s crucial to bacterial viability/persistence could offer a new route to effective antibiotics and minimize the development of drug resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1339-1353
Number of pages15
JournalFuture Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number8
Early online date23 Aug 2010
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


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