Cytochrome P450 in Plants

  • F. Durst
  • I. Benveniste
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 105)


It is generally recognized that the multiplicity of cytochrome P450 forms in animals, especially those of the CYP2 family, is largely the result of the coevolution of plants and phytophageous animals. The rapidly advancing characterization of new cytochrome P450 enzymes in plants (Durst 1991) shows that cytochromes P450 are involved in the biosynthetic pathway of major phytoalexins (chemicals synthesized by plants to deter hostile organisms). Thus it appears that products of the same gene superfamily are involved both in the synthesis of defense molecules by plants and in their detoxification by animals. One may hypothesize that pressure from this coevolutionary process has driven cytochrome P450 in opposite directions: the evolution of phytoalexin-metabolizing forms with broad and overlapping substrate specificity in animals, and the evolution of specific isoforms that participate in the synthesis of these phytoalexins in plants. If this is true, plants should provide a vast reservoir of cytochrome P450 genes.


Lauric Acid Cytochrome P450 Enzyme Jerusalem Artichoke Allene Oxide Cytochrome P450 Reductase 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

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  • F. Durst
  • I. Benveniste

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