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DNA Cell Biol. 1997 Nov;16(11):1345-56.

The Drosophila cytochrome P450 gene Cyp6a2: structure, localization, heterologous expression, and induction by phenobarbital.

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Department of Entomology, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721-0036, USA.


The cytochrome P450 gene Cyp6a2 from Drosophila melanogaster is located on the right arm of chromosome 2 at position 43A1-2 and comprises two exons separated by a 69-bp intron. Phenobarbital treatment of flies leads to a rapid increase in the level of CYP6A2 mRNA and to an increased production of the CYP6A2 protein. DNA from the Cyp6a2 promoter region was functional when linked to a luciferase reporter gene and transfected into D. melanogaster Schneider cells. Moreover, a dose-dependent induction of luciferase activity by phenobarbital indicated that elements necessary for phenobarbital induction are located within 428 bp of the translation start site. Heterologous expression of the CYP6A2 protein in lepidopteran cells infected with a Cyp6a2-recombinant baculovirus was observed by Western blotting of cell lysates and by spectral characterization of the reduced-CO complex of the P450. The CYP6A2 protein produced in this system metabolized aldrin and heptachlor to their epoxides and metabolized the insecticide diazinon by desulfuration to diazoxon and by oxidative ester cleavage to 2-isopropyl-4-methyl-6-hydroxypyrimidine. Metabolism in lysates of cells infected with recombinant baculovirus was greatly enhanced by the addition of purified housefly NADPH cytochrome P450 reductase and cytochrome b5. These results show that CYP6A2 catalyzes the metabolism of organophosphorus insecticides and they implicate Cyp6a2 overexpression in metabolic resistance. The Cyp6a2 gene appears to be a suitable model for a genetic analysis of the phenobarbital induction process.

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