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FEBS Lett. 1999 Feb 26;445(2-3):261-4.

SDR and MDR: completed genome sequences show these protein families to be large, of old origin, and of complex nature.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Short-chain dehydrogenases/reductases (SDR) and medium-chain dehydrogenases/reductases (MDR) are protein families originally distinguished from characterisations of alcohol dehydrogenase of these two types. Screening of completed genome sequences now reveals that both these families are large, wide-spread and complex. In Escherichia coli alone, there are no fewer than 17 MDR forms, identified as open reading frames, considerably extending previously known MDR relationships in prokaryotes and including ethanol-active alcohol dehydrogenase. In entire databanks, 1056 SDR and 537 MDR forms are currently known, extending the multiplicity further. Complexity is also large, with several enzyme activity types, subgroups and evolutionary patterns. Repeated duplications can be traced for the alcohol dehydrogenases, with independent enzymogenesis of ethanol activity, showing a general importance of this enzyme activity.

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