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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Feb 16;96(4):1750-5.

Expression of a soybean cytochrome P450 monooxygenase cDNA in yeast and tobacco enhances the metabolism of phenylurea herbicides.

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Department of Crop Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7620, USA.


A strategy based on the random isolation and screening of soybean cDNAs encoding cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s) was used in an attempt to identify P450 isozymes involved in herbicide metabolism. Nine full-length (or near-full-length) P450 cDNAs representing eight distinct P450 families were isolated by using PCR-based technologies. Five of the soybean P450 cDNAs were expressed successfully in yeast, and microsomal fractions generated from these strains were tested for their potential to catalyze the metabolism of 10 herbicides and 1 insecticide. In vitro enzyme assays showed that the gene product of one heterologously expressed P450 cDNA (CYP71A10) specifically catalyzed the metabolism of phenylurea herbicides, converting four herbicides of this class (fluometuron, linuron, chlortoluron, and diuron) into more polar compounds. Analyses of the metabolites suggest that the CYP71A10 encoded enzyme functions primarily as an N-demethylase with regard to fluometuron, linuron, and diuron, and as a ring-methyl hydroxylase when chlortoluron is the substrate. In vivo assays using excised leaves demonstrated that all four herbicides were more readily metabolized in CYP71A10-transformed tobacco compared with control plants. For linuron and chlortoluron, CYP71A10-mediated herbicide metabolism resulted in significantly enhanced tolerance to these compounds in the transgenic plants.

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