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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Involvement of cytochrome P450 in host-plant utilization by Sonoran Desert Drosophila.

The four Drosophila species endemic to the Sonoran Desert (Drosophila mettleri, Drosophila mojavensis, Drosophila nigrospiracula, and Drosophila pachea) utilize necrotic cactus tissue or soil soaked by rot exudate as breeding substrates. Each Drosophila species uses a different cactus species as its primary host. D. pachea is limited to senita cactus by a biochemical dependency on unusual sterols available only in that cactus. For the other Drosophila species, no such chemical dependencies exist to explain the relationships with their primary host plants. Each cactus species has a different array of allelochemicals that have detrimental effects on non-resident fly species. We have hypothesized that the desert fly-cactus associations are due, in part, to differences between the fly species in their allelochemical detoxication enzymes, the cytochrome P450 system. To test whether P450s are involved in the detoxication of cactus allelochemicals, several experiments were done. (i) The effect of a specific P450 inhibitor, piperonyl butoxide, on larval survival through eclosion on each cactus substrate was investigated. (ii) In vitro metabolism of cactus alkaloids was determined for each Drosophila species. The effects of specific inducers and inhibitors were included in these experiments. (iii) The basal and induced content of cytochrome P450 in each species was determined. The results support the hypothesis that P450 enzymes are involved in host-plant utilization by these Sonoran Desert Drosophila species.[1]


  1. Involvement of cytochrome P450 in host-plant utilization by Sonoran Desert Drosophila. Frank, M.R., Fogleman, J.C. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1992) [Pubmed]
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