Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a gram-negative opportunistic human pathogen that is highly prevalent in individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF). A major problem in treating CF patients infected with P. aeruginosa is the development of antibiotic resistance. Therefore, the identification of novel P. aeruginosa antibiotic drug targets is of the utmost urgency. The genome of P. aeruginosa contains four putative cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs) of unknown function that have never before been characterized. Analogous to some of the CYPs from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, these P. aeruginosa CYPs may be important for growth and colonization of CF patients’ lungs. In this study, we cloned, expressed, and characterized CYP168A1 from P. aeruginosa and identified it as a sub-terminal fatty acid hydroxylase. Spectral binding data and computational modeling of substrates and inhibitors suggest that CYP168A1 has a large, expansive active site and preferentially binds long chain fatty acids and large hydrophobic inhibitors. Furthermore, metabolic experiments confirm that the enzyme is capable of hydroxylating arachidonic acid, an important inflammatory signaling molecule present in abundance in the CF lung, to 19-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (19-HETE; Km = 41 μM, Vmax = 220 pmol/min/nmol P450), a potent vasodilator which may play a role in the pathogen’s ability to colonize the lung. Additionally, we found that the in vitro metabolism of arachidonic acid is subject to substrate inhibition and is also inhibited by the presence of the antifungal agent ketoconazole. This study identifies a new metabolic pathway in this important human pathogen that may be of utility in treating P. aeruginosa infections.
J Biol Chem. 2022 Jan 24:101629. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2022.101629. Online ahead of print.