Marmoset Cytochrome P450 3A4 Ortholog Expressed in Liver and Small-Intestine Tissues Efficiently Metabolizes Midazolam, Alprazolam, Nifedipine, and Testosterone.Drug Metab Dispos. 2017 05; 45(5):457-467.DM
Common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus), small New World primates, are increasingly attracting attention as potentially useful animal models for drug development. However, characterization of cytochrome P450 (P450) 3A enzymes involved in the metabolism of a wide variety of drugs has not investigated in marmosets. In this study, sequence homology, tissue distribution, and enzymatic properties of marmoset P450 3A4 ortholog, 3A5 ortholog, and 3A90 were investigated. Marmoset P450 3A forms exhibited high amino acid sequence identities (88-90%) to the human and cynomolgus monkey P450 3A orthologs and evolutionary closeness to human and cynomolgus monkey P450 3A orthologs compared with other P450 3A enzymes. Among the five marmoset tissues examined, P450 3A4 ortholog mRNA was abundant in livers and small intestines where P450 3A4 ortholog proteins were immunologically detected. Three marmoset P450 3A proteins heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli membranes catalyzed midazolam 1'- and 4-hydroxylation, alprazolam 4-hydroxylation, nifedipine oxidation, and testosterone 6β-hydroxylation, similar to cynomolgus monkey and human P450 3A enzymes. Among the marmoset P450 3A enzymes, P450 3A4 ortholog effectively catalyzed midazolam 1'-hydroxylation, comparable to microsomes from marmoset livers and small intestines. Correlation analyses with 23 individual marmoset liver microsomes suggested contributions of P450 3A enzymes to 1'-hydroxylation of both midazolam (human P450 3A probe) and bufuralol (human P450 2D6 probe), similar to cynomolgus monkey P450 3A enzymes. These results indicated that marmoset P450 3A forms had functional characteristics roughly similar to cynomolgus monkeys and humans in terms of tissue expression patterns and catalytic activities, suggesting marmosets as suitable animal models for P450 3A-dependent drug metabolism.