Open Access Short Report

Homology modeling of mosquito cytochrome P450 enzymes involved in pyrethroid metabolism: insights into differences in substrate selectivity

Panida Lertkiatmongkol1, Ekachai Jenwitheesuk2 and Pornpimol Rongnoparut1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Phayatai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

2 Genome Institute, National Science and Technology Development Agency, Thailand Science Park, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:321  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-321

Published: 6 September 2011



Cytochrome P450 enzymes (P450s) have been implicated in insecticide resistance. Anopheles minumus mosquito P450 isoforms CYP6AA3 and CYP6P7 are capable of metabolizing pyrethroid insecticides, however CYP6P8 lacks activity against this class of compounds.


Homology models of the three An. minimus P450 enzymes were constructed using the multiple template alignment method. The predicted enzyme model structures were compared and used for molecular docking with insecticides and compared with results of in vitro enzymatic assays. The three model structures comprise common P450 folds but differences in geometry of their active-site cavities and substrate access channels are prominent. The CYP6AA3 model has a large active site allowing it to accommodate multiple conformations of pyrethroids. The predicted CYP6P7 active site is more constrained and less accessible to binding of pyrethroids. Moreover the predicted hydrophobic interface in the active-site cavities of CYP6AA3 and CYP6P7 may contribute to their substrate selectivity. The absence of CYP6P8 activity toward pyrethroids appears to be due to its small substrate access channel and the presence of R114 and R216 that may prevent access of pyrethroids to the enzyme heme center.


Differences in active site topologies among CYPAA3, CYP6P7, and CYP6P8 enzymes may impact substrate binding and selectivity. Information obtained using homology models has the potential to enhance the understanding of pyrethroid metabolism and detoxification mediated by P450 enzymes.