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Gene. 2007 Jan 31;387(1-2):58-66. Epub 2006 Sep 1.

Structural divergence and adaptive evolution in mammalian cytochromes P450 2C.

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  • 1REQUIMTE, Departamento de Química, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre, 687, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal.


Cytochromes P450 (CYPs) comprise a superfamily of enzymes involved in various physiological functions, including the metabolism of drugs and carcinogenic compounds present in food, making them of great importance for human health. The possibility that CYPs could be broadening or changing substrate specificity in accordance to the high diversity of xenobiotics compounds environmentally available suggests that their metabolic function could be under adaptive evolution. We evaluated the existence of functional divergence and signatures of selection on mammalian genes from the drug-metabolizing CYP2 family. Thirteen of the sites found to be functionally divergent and the eight found to be under strong positive selection occurred in important functional domains, namely on the substrate entrance channel and within the active site. Our results provide insight into CYPs evolution and the role of molecular adaptation in enzyme substrate-specificity diversification.

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