Drug Bioactivation Covalent Binding to Target Proteins and Toxicity Relevance
A number of therapeutic drugs with different structures and mechanisms of action have been reported to undergo metabolic activation by Phase I or Phase II drug-metabolizing enzymes. The bioactivation gives rise to reactive metabolites/intermediates, which readily confer covalent binding to various target proteins by nucleophilic substitution and/or Schiff's base mechanism. These drugs include analgesics (e.g., acetaminophen), antibacterial agents (e.g., sulfonamides and macrolide antibiotics), anticancer drugs (e.g., irinotecan), antiepileptic drugs (e.g., carbamazepine), anti-HIV agents (e.g., ritonavir), antipsychotics (e.g., clozapine), cardiovascular drugs (e.g., procainamide and hydralazine), immunosupressants (e.g., cyclosporine A), inhalational anesthetics (e.g., halothane), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDSs) (e.g., diclofenac), and steroids and their receptor modulators (e.g., estrogens and tamoxifen). Some herbal and dietary constituents are also bioactivated to reactive metabolites capable of binding covalently and inactivating cytochrome P450s (CYPs). A number of important target proteins of drugs have been identified by mass spectrometric techniques and proteomic approaches. The covalent binding and formation of drug-protein adducts are generally considered to be related to drug toxicity, and selective protein covalent binding by drug metabolites may lead to selective organ toxicity. However, the mechanisms involved in the protein adduct-induced toxicity are largely undefined, although it has been suggested that drug-protein adducts may cause toxicity either through impairing physiological functions of the modified proteins or through immune-mediated mechanisms. In addition, mechanism-based inhibition of CYPs may result in toxic drug-drug interactions. The clinical consequences of drug bioactivation and covalent binding to proteins are unpredictable, depending on many factors that are associated with the administered drugs and patients. Further studies using proteomic and genomic approaches with high throughput capacity are needed to identify the protein targets of reactive drug metabolites, and to elucidate the structure-activity relationships of drug's covalent binding to proteins and their clinical outcomes.
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