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J Biochem. 1996 May;119(5):926-33.

Sterol 14-demethylase P450 (P45014DM*) is one of the most ancient and conserved P450 species.

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  • 1Department of Bioengineering, Faculty of Engineering, Soka University, Tokyo.


To determine the orthology of sterol 14-demethylase (P45014DM), the only known P450 enzyme distributed widely in eukaryotes with a conserved metabolic role, the full-length amino acid sequences of rat and human P45014DMs were determined from the cloned cDNA sequences, and compared with those of the corresponding fungal proteins (CYP51). The amino acid identity value between given pairs of P45014DMs ranged from 93% (human/rat) to 39% (human or rat/Saccharomyces cerevisiae). All the P45014DMs formed a single cluster in a phylogenetic tree constructed from representative P450 protein sequences currently available. The nearest neighbors to the P45014DM cluster in the phylogenetic tree were CYP7 (cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase) and CYP8 (prostacyclin synthase), and the divergence point of fungal and mammalian P45014DMs was clearly more recent than that of P45014DM and CYP7/CYP8. These lines of evidence show that fungal and mammalian P45014DMs are really orthologous. This is the first example of orthologous P450s occurring in distinct kingdoms. P45014DM may be an ancient P450 which arose before the divergence of major eukaryotic branches and has been conserved throughout evolution. The amino acid identity value (93%) between human and rat P45014DMs was comparable to those observed for some housekeeping enzymes. In addition, a processed pseudogene of P45014DM was found in a rat genomic DNA library, suggesting the expression of P45014DM in germ line cells. These facts suggest that P45014DM may be a housekeeping enzyme essential for the viability of mammals.

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