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Genetics. 1997 Jul;146(3):1131-41.

Cloning of the Arabidopsis and rice formaldehyde dehydrogenase genes: implications for the origin of plant ADH enzymes.

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CSIRO, Division of Plant Industry, Canberra, Australia.


This article reports the cloning of the genes encoding the Arabidopsis and rice class III ADH enzymes, members of the alcohol dehydrogenase or medium chain reductase/dehydrogenase superfamily of proteins with glutathione-dependent formaldehyde dehydrogenase activity (GSH-FDH). Both genes contain eight introns in exactly the same positions, and these positions are conserved in plant ethanol-active Adh genes (class P). These data provide further evidence that plant class P genes have evolved from class III genes by gene duplication and acquisition of new substrate specificities. The position of introns and similarities in the nucleic acid and amino acid sequences of the different classes of ADH enzymes in plants and humans suggest that plant and animal class III enzymes diverged before they duplicated to give rise to plant and animal ethanol-active ADH enzymes. Plant class P ADH enzymes have gained substrate specificities and evolved promoters with different expression properties, in keeping with their metabolic function as part of the alcohol fermentation pathway.

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