Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Chem Ecol. 2007 Nov;33(11):2111-22. Epub 2007 Oct 11.

Xenobiotic metabolism of plant secondary compounds in oak (Quercus agrifolia) by specialist and generalist woodrat herbivores, genus Neotoma.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biology, University of Utah, 257 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112, USA.


The challenge of consuming plant compounds that are recognized to have toxic physiological effects is an unavoidable consequence of an herbivorous diet and requires mechanisms to metabolize and eliminate them after consumption. We took a pharmacological approach to understanding how an oak (Quercus agrifolia) specialist (Neotoma macrotis) and generalist (N. lepida) herbivores process the same dietary toxins. Oak contains polyphenolic compounds considered toxic to most other mammals. N. macrotis includes up to 85% of oak in their diet. N. lepida includes oak as a portion of the diet but is considered a generalist in areas where sympatric with N. macrotis. Xenobiotic metabolizing enzyme activities of N. macrotis and N. lepida were investigated after animals were fed a 70% oak diet and a toxin-free control diet. Biotransformation activities of five major enzymes [cytochrome P450s (CYP), NAD(P)H/quinone oxidoreductase (QOR), UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT), sulfotransferase (SULT), and glutathione S-transferase (GST)] and three specific CYP isozymes (CYP1A, CYP2B, and CYP3A) were investigated. The results indicate that, with the exception of CYP2B induction, N. macrotis and N. lepida enzyme activities are not changed by an oak diet. The major differences in enzyme activities were constitutive. The specialist, N. macrotis, had higher constitutive activity of QOR, UGT, and GST. The generalist, N. lepida, had higher constitutive activity levels of CYP1A and SULT.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk