William C. Rose Award lecture will focus on cytochrome P450

03/08/05

Bethesda, Maryland, March 8, 2005: Dr. Frederick P. Guengerich, Professor of Biochemistry at the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University, will discuss the many functions of cytochrome P450 when he receives the William C. Rose Award. The award will be presented to Dr. Guengerich on Wednesday, April 6 at 8:30 a.m. at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Annual Meeting in San Diego.

The cytochromes P450 are a large family of enzymes that oxidize drugs, steroids, and carcinogens. Oxidation of these potentially harmful substances makes them more water-soluble and easier to clear out of cells. The P450s are also involved in vascular autoregulation, particularly in the brain, and the formation of cholesterol, steroids and arachidonic acid metabolites.

Most of the early studies on these enzymes involved experimental animals, but with time the work has moved to the human P450s and today much of the resulting knowledge has been applied in the drug development process, as well as in endocrinology, toxicology, and other areas. Despite the complexity of P450s, much has been learned about their structures, mechanisms, and function.

Dr. Guengerich will discuss some of his recent work on P450 including the kinetic analysis of steps in catalysis by human P450s, the analysis of factors within the substrates and proteins that contribute to binding and catalysis, and using mutagenesis methods to develop gain of function. Dr. Guengerich is also studying the development of methods to define the substrates and products of orphan P450s in both bacteria and humans and will present some of his findings in this area.

The William C. Rose Award recognizes outstanding contributions to biochemical and molecular biological research and a demonstrated commitment to the training of younger scientists, as epitomized by the late Dr. Rose. Recent recipients of this award include Sunney I. Chan, Jack E. Dixon, Gordon Hammes, Marc W. Kirschner, and Rowena G. Matthews. The Award consists of a plaque and transportation and expenses to present a lecture at the ASBMB Annual Meeting.

In nominating Dr. Guengerich for the Award, Dr. Minor J. Coon, of the University of Michigan Medical Center, recalled, "Fred joined my laboratory as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 1973, following completion of his Ph.D. studies at Vanderbilt University, and I have followed his career closely ever since. Because of our common research interests I hear his presentations frequently at national and international meetings and read his outstanding and frequent publications. He is almost unmatched in his dedication to science, his insight into the mechanistic aspects of cytochrome P450, and his excellent contributions to the overlapping fields of biochemistry, toxicology, and chemical carcinogenesis."

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