The membrane-anchored enzyme Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) is involved in the metabolism of around 25% of marketed drugs and its metabolic performance shows a high interindividual variation. While it was suggested that ligands access the buried active site of the enzyme from the membrane, no proof from unbiased simulations has been provided to support this hypothesis. Laboratory experiments fail to capture the access process which is suspected to influence binding kinetics. Here, we applied unbiased molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to investigate the access of ligands to wild-type CYP2D6, as well as the allelic variant CYP2D6*53. In multiple simulations, substrates accessed the active site of the enzyme from the protein-membrane interface to ultimately adopt a conformation that would allow a metabolic reaction. We propose the necessary steps for ligand access and the results suggest that the increased metabolic activity of CYP2D6*53 might be caused by a facilitated ligand uptake.
This work describes an example of using Unbiased molecular dynamics simulation in kinetic calculations.