Cytochrome P450 monooxygenases of the CYP2A subfamily play important roles in xenobiotic disposition in the liver and in metabolic activation in extrahepatic tissues. Many of the CYP2A transcripts and enzymes are inducible by xenobiotic compounds, and the expression of at least some of the CYP2A genes is influenced by physiological status, such as circadian rhythm, and pathological conditions, such as inflammation, microbial infection, and tumorigenesis. Variability in the expression of the CYP2A genes, which differs by species, animal strain, gender, and organ, may alter the risks of chemical toxicity for numerous compounds that are CYP2A substrates. The mechanistic bases of these variabilities are generally not well understood. However, recent studies have yielded interesting findings in several areas, such as the role of nuclear factor 1 in the tissue-selective expression of CYP2A genes in the olfactory mucosa (OM); the roles of constitutive androstane receptor, pregnane X receptor (PXR), and possibly, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors in transcriptional regulation of the Cyp2a5 gene; and the involvement of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 in pyrazole-induced stabilization of CYP2A5 mRNA. The aims of this minireview are to summarize current knowledge of the regulation of the CYP2A genes in rodents and humans, and to stimulate further mechanistic studies that will ultimately improve our ability to determine, and to understand, these variabilities in humans.
- Extrahepatic tissue
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