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Gene. 2001 Jan 10;262(1-2):189-98.

The cytochrome P450 gene superfamily in Drosophila melanogaster: annotation, intron-exon organization and phylogeny.

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Department of Entomology, Forbes 410, P.O. Box 210036, The University of Arizona, Tucson 85721, USA.


The cytochrome P450 gene superfamily is represented by 90 sequences in the Drosophila melanogaster genome. Of these 90 P450 sequences, 83 code for apparently functional genes whereas seven are apparent pseudogenes. More than half of the genes belong to only two families, CYP4 and CYP6. The CYP6 family is insect specific whereas the CYP4 family includes sequences from vertebrates. There are eight genes coding for mitochondrial P450s as deduced from their homology to CYP12A1 from the house fly. The genetic map of the distribution of D. melanogaster P450 genes shows (a) the absence of P450 genes on the chromosome 4 and Y, (b) more than half of the P450 genes are found on chromosome 2, and (c) the largest cluster contains nine genes. Sequence alignments were used to draw phylogenetic trees and to analyze the intron-exon organization of each functional P450 gene. Only five P450 genes are intronless. We found 57 unique intron positions, of which 23 were phase zero, 19 were phase one and 15 were phase two. There was a relatively good correlation between intron conservation and phylogenetic relationship between members of the P450 subfamilies. Although the function of many P450 proteins from vertebrates, fungi, plants and bacteria is known, only a single P450 from D. melanogaster, CYP6A2, has been functionally characterized. Gene organization appears to be a useful tool in the study of the regulation, the physiological role and the function of these P450s.

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