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Cytochromes P450 (CYPs) are a superfamily of enzymes containing heme as a cofactor that function as monooxygenases. In mammals, these proteins oxidize steroids, fatty acids, and xenobiotics, and are important for the clearance of various compounds, as well as for hormone synthesis and breakdown. In plants, these proteins are important for the biosynthesis of defensive compounds, fatty acids, and hormones.CYPs are, in general, the terminal oxidase enzymes in electron transfer chains, broadly categorized as P450-containing systems. The term "P450" is derived from the spectrophotometric peak at the wavelength of the absorption maximum of the enzyme (450 nm) when it is in the reduced state and complexed with carbon monoxide. Most CYPs require a protein partner to deliver one or more electrons to reduce the iron (and eventually molecular oxygen).
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