Areas of Interest
While most enzymes are very specific for a single substrate, a few are much more versatile. The main interest of the Scott laboratory involves the ability of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes to both bind and metabolize a number of chemicals that are very different in size, shape, and stereochemistry. Within an organism, the presence of a set of these multitasking enzymes is largely responsible for the ability to eliminate foreign chemicals including drugs, environmental substances, and carcinogens. Major questions include:
• How does the three-dimensional structure of a cytochrome P450 recognize, bind, and metabolize multiple chemically diverse substrates?
• By what mechanism can two different P450 enzymes act on a common substrate but differentiate between other chemicals that only one of them can metabolize?
• How do selective inhibitors interact with the protein structure in these versatile enzymes?
• How can we use this knowledge to advance human health by preventing disease, by understanding how drugs are manipulated in the body, and by treating disease?