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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1995 Aug 1;321(1):13-20.

Expression of cytochrome P450 genes of the CYP4 family in midgut and fat body of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta.

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  • 1Center for Insect Science, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721, USA.


Two conserved regions in the alignment of cytochrome P450 family 4 (CYP4) proteins served as guide to the synthesis of degenerate oligonucleotide primers. The primers were used in PCR from a midgut cDNA library and RT-PCR from fat body mRNA, both from last instar larvae of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta. The PCR products of 443-449 bp were cloned and sequenced. Nine P450 clones representing four new genes were obtained from the midgut. Fifteen P450 clones representing three new genes were obtained from the fat body. Two genes were expressed in both tissues. A number of putative allelic variants were also observed for three of the P450 genes. The resulting sequences of 130-132 amino acids were aligned to generate a parsimony analysis of CYP4 P450 proteins. Two new subfamilies of CYP4 were designated from M. sexta by these procedures, CYP4L and CYP4M. The sequence of a full-length cDNA clone for CYP4M2 (41.2% identity to CYP4C1) confirmed that the PCR products obtained by this method were P450s belonging to the CYP4 family. The developmental expression of the CYP4 genes appeared to be coordinately regulated in both fat body and midgut. In the fat body, CYP4 mRNA levels declined after the first day of the final larval instar, peaked during the wandering stage, and fell again until the prepupal molt. Midgut CYP4 mRNA levels were higher during the active feeding, midwandering, prepupal, and pupal stages. Addition of 2-tridecanone or 2-undecanone to the diet induced several P450s in the midgut and in the fat body. Phenobarbital induced CYP4M1 in the fat body and dietary clofibrate induced the mRNA levels of CYP4M1 and CYP4M3 in the midgut. The results indicate that at least four CYP4 genes are expressed in single tissues of a Lepidopteran insect. Several of these P450 may be involved in tissue responses to xenobiotics.

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