Function, essentiality, and expression of cytochrome P450 enzymes and their cognate redox partners in Mycobacterium tuberculosis: are they drug targets?

S. Ortega Ugalde, Maikel Boot, J.N.M. Commandeur, P. Jennings, W. Bitter, J.C. Vos

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21 Citations (Scopus)


This review covers the current knowledge of the cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs) of the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and their endogenous redox partners, focusing on their biological function, expression, regulation, involvement in antibiotic resistance, and suitability for exploitation as antitubercular targets. The Mtb genome encodes twenty CYPs and nine associated redox partners required for CYP catalytic activity. Transposon insertion mutagenesis studies have established the (conditional) essentiality of several of these enzymes for in vitro growth and host infection. Biochemical characterization of a handful of Mtb CYPs has revealed that they have specific physiological functions in bacterial virulence and persistence in the host. Analysis of the transcriptional response of Mtb CYPs and redox partners to external insults and to first-line antibiotics used to treat tuberculosis showed a diverse expression landscape, suggesting for some enzymes a potential role in drug resistance. Combining the knowledge about the physiological roles and expression profiles indicates that, at least five Mtb CYPs, CYP121A1, CYP125A1, CYP139A1, CYP142A1, and CYP143A1, as well as two ferredoxins, FdxA and FdxC, can be considered promising novel therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3597-3614
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number9
Early online date27 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019


  • Antibiotic exposure response
  • Cytochrome P450
  • Essentiality
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Redox partners
  • Stress response

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