Journal article

Genomic and transcriptomic analyses in Drosophila suggest that the ecdysteroid kinase-like (EcKL) gene family encodes the 'detoxification-by-phosphorylation' enzymes of insects

Jack L Scanlan, Rebecca S Gledhill-Smith, Paul Battlay, Charles Robin



Phosphorylation is a phase II detoxification reaction that, among animals, occurs near exclusively in insects, but the enzymes responsible have never been cloned or otherwise identified. We propose the hypothesis that members of the arthropod-specific ecdysteroid kinase-like (EcKL) gene family encode detoxicative kinases. To test this hypothesis, we annotated the EcKL gene family in 12 species of Drosophila and explored their evolution within the genus. Many ancestral EcKL clades are evolutionarily unstable and have experienced repeated gene gain and loss events, while others are conserved as single-copy orthologs. Leveraging multiple published gene expression datasets from D. melanogaster, ..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Rob Good and Jin Kee for conversations and analyses that helped motivate this research, as well as Dr Lars Jermiin for his supervisory wisdom and financial support, and Melanie Stewart for feedback on the manuscript. We would also like to thank Pontus Leblanc for assisting with the RNAi knockdown crosses. We also thank Prof. Rene Feyereisen for initial communication about detoxificationby-phosphorylation. Finally we thank two anonymous reviewers whose comments substantially improved the manuscript. This research was partially supported by Australian Research Council grant DP985013 and internal funding from the University of Melbourne, Australia to C.R.