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J Mol Model. 2010 May;16(5):919-28. doi: 10.1007/s00894-009-0576-0. Epub 2009 Oct 16.

Evaluation of the impact of functional diversification on Poaceae, Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, and Pinaceae alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes.

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Departamento de Genética, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Caixa Postal 15053, 91501-970, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.


The plant alcohol dehydrogenases (ADHs) have been intensively studied in the last years in terms of phylogeny and they have been widely used as a molecular marker. However, almost no information about their three-dimensional structure is available. Several studies point to functional diversification of the ADH, with evidence of its importance, in different organisms, in the ethanol, norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and bile acid metabolism. Computational results demonstrated that in plants these enzymes are submitted to a functional diversification process, which is reinforced by experimental studies indicating distinct enzymatic functions as well as recruitment of specific genes in different tissues. The main objective of this article is to establish a correlation between the functional diversification occurring in the plant alcohol dehydrogenase family and the three-dimensional structures predicted for 17 ADH belonging to Poaceae, Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, and Pinaceae botanical families. Volume, molecular weight and surface areas are not markedly different among them. Important electrostatic and pI differences were observed with the residues responsible for some of them identified, corroborating the function diversification hypothesis. These data furnish important background information for future specific structure-function and evolutionary investigations.

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