, Volume 5, Issue 2-3, pp 445-458
Date: 07 Nov 2006

Plant cytochrome P450-mediated herbicide metabolism

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Abstract

In the last two decades it has become apparent that enzymes of the P450 monooxygenase (P450) superfamily are responsible for the Phase I metabolism of numerous herbicides representing several classes of organic compounds. The majority of experimental evidence for P450 involvement in herbicide metabolism has been derived from in vitro studies in which the catalytic activity of plant microsomes towards herbicidal substrates was measured in the presence of various P450 inhibitors and activators. While the studies with microsomes elicited much appreciation for the pivotal roles of plant P450s in herbicide metabolism, detailed characterization of these enzymes only became possible after the isolation of genes encoding specific isoforms responsible for herbicide conversion. Several lines of evidence suggest that the development of herbicide resistance in weeds by enhanced detoxification is frequently associated with elevated levels of P450 activity. Enhanced detoxification-based herbicide resistance is particularly difficult to control, because it can involve resistance to multiple, chemically unrelated classes of herbicides. Continued research efforts are aimed at elucidating the role of P450s in the metabolic fates of herbicides in plants and the development of herbicide resistance in weeds. Recent advances made in the isolation and genetic manipulation of P450 enzymes have created new opportunities for their application in engineering herbicide tolerance and bioremediation.