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The UDP-Glycosyltransferase Family in Drosophila melanogaster: Nomenclature Update, Gene Expression and Phylogenetic Analysis

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Ahn, Seung-Joon 
Marygold, Steven J. 


UDP-glycosyltransferases (UGTs) are important conjugation enzymes found in all kingdoms of life, catalyzing a sugar conjugation with small lipophilic compounds and playing a crucial role in detoxification and homeostasis. The UGT gene family is defined by a signature motif in the C-terminal domain where the uridine diphosphate (UDP)-sugar donor binds. UGTs have been identified in a number of insect genomes over the last decade and much progress has been achieved in characterizing their expression patterns and molecular functions. Here, we present an update of the complete repertoire of UGT genes in Drosophila melanogaster and provide a brief overview of the latest research in this model insect. A total of 35 UGT genes are found in the D. melanogaster genome, localized to chromosomes 2 and 3 with a high degree of gene duplications on the chromosome arm 3R. All D. melanogaster UGT genes have now been named in FlyBase according to the unified UGT nomenclature guidelines. A phylogenetic analysis of UGT genes shows lineage-specific gene duplications. Analysis of anatomical and induced gene expression patterns demonstrate that some UGT genes are differentially expressed in various tissues or after environmental treatments. Extended searches of UGT orthologs from 18 additional Drosophila species reveal a diversity of UGT gene numbers and composition. The roles of Drosophila UGTs identified to date are briefly reviewed, and include xenobiotic metabolism, nicotine resistance, olfaction, cold tolerance, sclerotization, pigmentation, and immunity. Together, the updated genomic information and research overview provided herein will aid further research in this developing field.



Physiology, Drosophila melanogaster, UDP-glycosyltransferase, UGT, nomenclature, detoxification, conjugation

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Frontiers in Physiology

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Frontiers Media S.A.