, Volume 259, Issue 1, pp 54-59

Induction by alkaloids and phenobarbital of Family 4 Cytochrome P450s in Drosophila : evidence for involvement in host plant utilization

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In vertebrates, cytochrome P450s of the CYP2 and CYP3 families play a dominant role in drug metabolism, while in insects members of the CYP6 and CYP28 families have been implicated in metabolism of insecticides and toxic natural plant compounds. A degenerate 3 RACE strategy resulted in the identification of fifteen novel P450s from an alkaloid-resistant species of Drosophila. The strong (17.4-fold) and highly specific induction of a single gene (CYP4D10) by the toxic isoquinoline alkaloids of a commonly utilized host-plant (saguaro cactus) provides the first indication that members of the CYP4 family in insects may play an important role in the maintenance of specific insect-host plant relationships. Strong barbiturate inducibility of CYP4D10 and two other D. mettleri P450 sequences of the CYP4 family was also observed, suggesting a pattern of xenobiotic responsiveness more similar to those of several vertebrate drug-metabolizing enzymes than to putative vertebrate CYP4 homologs.

Received: 14 August 1997 / Accepted: 24 March 1998