Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 71, Issue 4, pp 241–249

Evolution of Enzymatic Activities of Testis-Specific Short-Chain Dehydrogenase/Reductase in Drosophila


DOI: 10.1007/s00239-010-9384-5

Cite this article as:
Zhang, J., Yang, H., Long, M. et al. J Mol Evol (2010) 71: 241. doi:10.1007/s00239-010-9384-5


The testis-specific gene Jingwei (jgw) is a newly evolved short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase in Drosophila. Preliminary substrate screening indicated that JGW prefers long-chain primary alcohols as substrates, including several exotic alcohols such as farnesol and geraniol. Using steady-state kinetics analyses and molecular docking, we not only confirmed JGW’s substrate specificity, but also demonstrated that the new enzymatic activities of JGW evolved extensively after exon-shuffling from a preexisting enzyme. Analysis of JGW orthologs in sister species shows that subsequent evolutionary changes following the birth of JGW altered substrate specificities and enzyme stabilities. Our results lend support to a general mechanism for the evolution of a new enzyme, in which catalytic chemistry evolves first followed by diversification of substrate utilization.


Enzyme evolutionShort-chain dehydrogenase/reductaseDrosophila alcohol dehydrogenaseExon-shufflingDrosophila





Short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase


Alcohol dehydrogenase

Supplementary material

239_2010_9384_MOESM1_ESM.doc (330 kb)
Supplementary material: Supplementary material includes data of structural based sequence alignment and Ramachandran Plot of JGW protein: D. teissieri and D. yakuba JGW. (DOC 329 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and EvolutionThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular PharmacologyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Biological ChemistryThe Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  4. 4.The BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, 240 Gortner LaboratoriesSt. PaulUSA