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Biochem J. 2006 Sep 15;398(3):451-60.

Identification and characteristics of the structural gene for the Drosophila eye colour mutant sepia, encoding PDA synthase, a member of the omega class glutathione S-transferases.

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School of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea.


The eye colour mutant sepia (se1) is defective in PDA {6-acetyl-2-amino-3,7,8,9-tetrahydro-4H-pyrimido[4,5-b]-[1,4]diazepin-4-one or pyrimidodiazepine} synthase involved in the conversion of 6-PTP (2-amino-4-oxo-6-pyruvoyl-5,6,7,8-tetrahydropteridine; also known as 6-pyruvoyltetrahydropterin) into PDA, a key intermediate in drosopterin biosynthesis. However, the identity of the gene encoding this enzyme, as well as its molecular properties, have not yet been established. Here, we identify and characterize the gene encoding PDA synthase and show that it is the structural gene for sepia. Based on previously reported information [Wiederrecht, Paton and Brown (1984) J. Biol. Chem. 259, 2195-2200; Wiederrecht and Brown (1984) J. Biol. Chem. 259, 14121-14127; Andres (1945) Drosoph. Inf. Serv. 19, 45; Ingham, Pinchin, Howard and Ish-Horowicz (1985) Genetics 111, 463-486; Howard, Ingham and Rushlow (1988) Genes Dev. 2, 1037-1046], we isolated five candidate genes predicted to encode GSTs (glutathione S-transferases) from the presumed sepia locus (region 66D5 on chromosome 3L). All cloned and expressed candidates exhibited relatively high thiol transferase and dehydroascorbate reductase activities and low activity towards 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene, characteristic of Omega class GSTs, whereas only CG6781 catalysed the synthesis of PDA in vitro. The molecular mass of recombinant CG6781 was estimated to be 28 kDa by SDS/PAGE and 56 kDa by gel filtration, indicating that it is a homodimer under native conditions. Sequencing of the genomic region spanning CG6781 revealed that the se1 allele has a frameshift mutation from 'AAGAA' to 'GTG' at nt 190-194, and that this generates a premature stop codon. Expression of the CG6781 open reading frame in an se1 background rescued the eye colour defect as well as PDA synthase activity and drosopterins content. The extent of rescue was dependent on the dosage of transgenic CG6781. In conclusion, we have discovered a new catalytic activity for an Omega class GST and that CG6781 is the structural gene for sepia which encodes PDA synthase.

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