Key words:Drosophila alcohol dehydrogenase — Short-chain dehydrogenase/reductases — Protein sequence analysis — SequenceSpace — Molecular evolution — Speciation — Function specificity — Active site
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract. Drosophilidae is a large, widely distributed family of Diptera including 61 genera, of which Drosophila is the most representative. Drosophila feeding is part of the saprophytic trophic chain, because of its dependence upon decomposing organic matter. Many species have adapted to fermenting fruit feeding or to artificial (man-made) fermentation habitats, such as cellars and breweries. Actually, the efficient exploitation of niches with alcohols is considered one of the reasons for the worldwide success of this genus. Drosophila alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), a member of the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase family (SDR), is responsible for the oxidation of alcohols, but its direct involvement in fitness, including alcohol tolerance and utilization, gives rise to much controversy. Thus, it remains unclear whether ADH differentiation through evolution is somehow associated with natural adaptation to new feeding niches, and thus maybe to Drosophila speciation, or if it is a simple reflection of neutral divergence correlated with time separation between species. To build a hypothesis which could shed light on this dilemma, we analyzed the amino acid variability found in the 57 protein ADH sequences reported up to now, identified the taxon-specific residues, and localized them in a three-dimensional ADH model. Our results define three regions whose shaping has been crucial for ADH differentiation and would be compatible with a contribution of ADH to Drosophila speciation.
Type of Medium: