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Trends Plant Sci. 2000 Mar;5(3):116-23.

Cytochromes P450 for engineering herbicide tolerance.

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  • 1Dept. of Cellular and Molecular Enzymology, Institute of Plant Molecular Biology, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique UPR 406, 28 rue Goethe, 67083 Strasbourg Cedex, France.


In recent years, genome sequencing has revealed that cytochromes P450 (P450s) constitute the largest family of enzymatic proteins in higher plants. P450s are mono-oxygenases that insert one atom of oxygen into inert hydrophobic molecules to make them more reactive and hydrosoluble. Besides their physiological functions in the biosynthesis of hormones, lipids and secondary metabolites, P450s help plants to cope with harmful exogenous chemicals including pesticides and industrial pollutants, making them less phytotoxic. The recovery of an increasing number of plant P450 genes in recombinant form has enabled their use in experimentation, which has revealed their extraordinary potential for engineering herbicide tolerance, biosafening, bioremediation and green chemistry.

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