Tropical Plant Biology

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 216-235

First online:

Comparison of Cytochrome P450 Genes from Six Plant Genomes

  • David R. NelsonAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular Sciences, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center Email author 
  • , Ray MingAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • , Maqsudul AlamAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology, Advance Studies in Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • , Mary A. SchulerAffiliated withDepartments of Cell and Developmental Biology, Biochemistry and Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Plants depend on cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes for nearly every aspect of their biology. In several sequenced angiosperms, CYP genes constitute up to 1% of the protein coding genes. The angiosperm sequence diversity is encapsulated by 59 CYP families, of which 52 families form a widely distributed core set. In the 20 years since the first plant P450 was sequenced, 3,387 P450 sequences have been identified and annotated in plant databases. As no new angiosperm CYP families have been discovered since 2004, it is now apparent that the sampling of CYP diversity is beginning to plateau. This review presents a comparison of 1,415 cytochrome P450 sequences from the six sequenced genomes of Vitis vinifera (grape), Carica papaya (papaya), Populus trichocarpa (poplar), Oryza sativa (rice), Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis or mouse ear’s cress) and Physcomitrella patens (moss). An evolutionary analysis is presented that tracks land plant P450 innovation over time from the most ancient and conserved sequences to the newest dicot-specific families. The earliest or oldest P450 families are devoted to the essential biochemistries of sterol and carotenoid synthesis. The next evolutionary radiation of P450 families appears to mediate crucial adaptations to a land environment. And, the newest CYP families appear to have driven the diversity of angiosperms in mediating the synthesis of pigments, odorants, flavors and order-/genus-specific secondary metabolites. Family-by-family comparisons allow the visualization of plant genome plasticity by whole genome duplications and massive gene family expansions via tandem duplications. Molecular evidence of human domestication is quite apparent in the repeated P450 gene duplications occurring in the grape genome.


Cytochrome P450 Evolution P450 superfamily CYP Papaya Grape Comparative genomics