Due to membrane-bound CYP3A4's natural propensity to conglomerate, it has historically been difficult to study drug binding in both solution and on surfaces. Co-crystallization is difficult since the substrates tend to have a low Kd (between 5-150 μM) and low solubility in aqueous solutions.  A successful strategy in isolating the bound enzyme is the functional stabilization of monomeric CYP3A4 on Ag nanoparticles produced from nanosphere lithography and analyzed via localized surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy ( LSPR ).  These analyses can be used as a high-sensitivity assay of drug binding, and may become integral in further high-throughput assays utilized in initial drug discovery testing. In addition to LSPR, CYP3A4-Nanodisc complexes have been found helpful in other applications including solid-state NMR , redox potentiometry, and steady-state enzyme kinetics . 
The fungus Aspergillus tamarii metabolizes progesterone to testololactone in high yield through a sequential four step enzymatic pathway which, has demonstrated flexibility in handling a range of steroidal probes. These substrates have revealed that subtle changes in the molecular structure of the steroid lead to significant changes in route of metabolism. It was therefore of interest to determine the metabolism of a range of 5-ene containing steroidal substrates. Remarkably the primary route of 5-ene steroid metabolism involved a 3beta-hydroxy-steroid dehydrogenase/Delta(5)-Delta(4) isomerase (3beta-HSD/isomerase) enzyme(s), generating 3-one-4-ene functionality and identified for the first time in a fungus with the ability to handle both dehydroepiansdrosterone (DHEA) as well as C-17 side-chain containing compounds such as pregnenolone and 3beta-hydroxy-16alpha,17alpha-epoxypregn-5-en-20-one. Uniquely in all the steroids tested, 3beta-HSD/isomerase activity only occurred following lactonization of the steroidal ring-D. Presence of C-7 allylic hydroxylation, in either epimeric form, inhibited 3beta-HSD/isomerase activity and of the substrates tested, was only observed with DHEA and its 13alpha-methyl analogue. In contrast to previous studies of fungi with 3beta-HSD/isomerase activity DHEA could also enter a minor hydroxylation pathway. Pregnenolone and 3beta-hydroxy-16alpha,17alpha-epoxypregn-5-en-20-one were metabolized solely through the putative 3beta-HSD/isomerase pathway, indicating that a 17beta-methyl ketone functionality inhibits allylic oxidation at C-7. The presence of the 3beta-HSD/isomerase in A. tamarii and the transformation results obtained in this study highlight an important potential role that fungi may have in the generation of environmental androgens.