Evolution of enzymatic activities of testis-specific short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase in drosophila

Jianming Zhang, Huyuan Yang, Manyuan Long, Liming Li*, Antony M. Dean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-249
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Enzyme evolution
  • Exon-shuffling
  • Short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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