Biochemical Genetics

, Volume 29, Issue 7, pp 365–388

Biochemical and physiological studies of soluble esterases fromDrosophila melanogaster


  • Marion J. Healy
    • CSIRO Division of Entomology
  • Mira M. Dumancic
    • CSIRO Division of Entomology
  • John G. Oakeshott
    • CSIRO Division of Entomology

DOI: 10.1007/BF00554144

Cite this article as:
Healy, M.J., Dumancic, M.M. & Oakeshott, J.G. Biochem Genet (1991) 29: 365. doi:10.1007/BF00554144


Twenty-two soluble esterases have been identified inD. melanogaster by combining the techniques of native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and isoelectric focusing. The sensitivity of each isozyme to three types of inhibitors (organophosphates, eserine sulfate, and sulfydryl reagents) identified 10 as carboxylesterases, 6 as cholinesterases, and 3 as acetylesterases. Three isozymes could not be classified and no arylesterases were identified. The carboxyl- and cholinesterases could each be further divided into two subclasses on the basis of inhibition by organophosphates and sulfhydryl reagents, respectively. Cholineand acetylesterases have characteristic substrate preferences but both subclasses of carboxylesterases are heterogeneous in substrate utilization. Subclass 2 carboxylesterases exhibit diverse temporal expression patterns, with subclass 1 carboxylesterases generally found in larvae and subclass 1 cholinesterases and acetylesterases more characteristic of pupae and adults. Tissues showing the greatest number of isozymes are larval body wall (eight) and digestive tract (six in larvae, six in adults). Carboxylesterases are distributed across a wide range of tissues, but subclass 1 cholinesterases are generally associated with neural or neurosecretory tissues and subclass 2 cholinesterases with digestive tissues.

Key words

Drosophila melanogaster esterases biochemical properties expression pattern

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991