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      Medium- and short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase gene and protein families : The MDR superfamily

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          The MDR superfamily with ~350-residue subunits contains the classical liver alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), quinone reductase, leukotriene B4 dehydrogenase and many more forms. ADH is a dimeric zinc metalloprotein and occurs as five different classes in humans, resulting from gene duplications during vertebrate evolution, the first one traced to ~500 MYA (million years ago) from an ancestral formaldehyde dehydrogenase line. Like many duplications at that time, it correlates with enzymogenesis of new activities, contributing to conditions for emergence of vertebrate land life from osseous fish. The speed of changes correlates with function, as do differential evolutionary patterns in separate segments. Subsequent recognitions now define at least 40 human MDR members in the Uniprot database (corresponding to 25 genes when excluding close homologues), and in all species at least 10888 entries. Overall, variability is large, but like for many dehydrogenases, subdivided into constant and variable forms, corresponding to household and emerging enzyme activities, respectively. This review covers basic facts and describes eight large MDR families and nine smaller families. Combined, they have specific substrates in metabolic pathways, some with wide substrate specificity, and several with little known functions.

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          Supplementary material is available in the online version of this article at (doi:10.1007/s00018-008-8587-z) and is accessible for authorized users.

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          Most cited references 116

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          Environmental genome shotgun sequencing of the Sargasso Sea.

          We have applied "whole-genome shotgun sequencing" to microbial populations collected en masse on tangential flow and impact filters from seawater samples collected from the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda. A total of 1.045 billion base pairs of nonredundant sequence was generated, annotated, and analyzed to elucidate the gene content, diversity, and relative abundance of the organisms within these environmental samples. These data are estimated to derive from at least 1800 genomic species based on sequence relatedness, including 148 previously unknown bacterial phylotypes. We have identified over 1.2 million previously unknown genes represented in these samples, including more than 782 new rhodopsin-like photoreceptors. Variation in species present and stoichiometry suggests substantial oceanic microbial diversity.
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            The Pfam protein families database.

            Pfam is a large collection of protein families and domains. Over the past 2 years the number of families in Pfam has doubled and now stands at 6190 (version 10.0). Methodology improvements for searching the Pfam collection locally as well as via the web are described. Other recent innovations include modelling of discontinuous domains allowing Pfam domain definitions to be closer to those found in structure databases. Pfam is available on the web in the UK (, the USA (, France ( and Sweden (
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              The Universal Protein Resource (UniProt)

              The Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) provides the scientific community with a single, centralized, authoritative resource for protein sequences and functional information. Formed by uniting the Swiss-Prot, TrEMBL and PIR protein database activities, the UniProt consortium produces three layers of protein sequence databases: the UniProt Archive (UniParc), the UniProt Knowledgebase (UniProt) and the UniProt Reference (UniRef) databases. The UniProt Knowledgebase is a comprehensive, fully classified, richly and accurately annotated protein sequence knowledgebase with extensive cross-references. This centrepiece consists of two sections: UniProt/Swiss-Prot, with fully, manually curated entries; and UniProt/TrEMBL, enriched with automated classification and annotation. During 2004, tens of thousands of Knowledgebase records got manually annotated or updated; we introduced a new comment line topic: TOXIC DOSE to store information on the acute toxicity of a toxin; the UniProt keyword list got augmented by additional keywords; we improved the documentation of the keywords and are continuously overhauling and standardizing the annotation of post-translational modifications. Furthermore, we introduced a new documentation file of the strains and their synonyms. Many new database cross-references were introduced and we started to make use of Digital Object Identifiers. We also achieved in collaboration with the Macromolecular Structure Database group at EBI an improved integration with structural databases by residue level mapping of sequences from the Protein Data Bank entries onto corresponding UniProt entries. For convenient sequence searches we provide the UniRef non-redundant sequence databases. The comprehensive UniParc database stores the complete body of publicly available protein sequence data. The UniProt databases can be accessed online ( or downloaded in several formats ( New releases are published every two weeks.

                Author and article information

                +46 13 137 568 ,
                Cell Mol Life Sci
                Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences
                Birkhäuser-Verlag (Basel )
                14 November 2008
                December 2008
                : 65
                : 24
                : 3879-3894
                [1 ]IFM Bioinformatics, Linköping University, 581 83 Linköping, Sweden
                [2 ]Dept of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
                [3 ]Dept of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
                © Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2008
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                © Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 2008

                Molecular biology

                bioinformatics, evolution, dehydrogenases, reductases, enzyme superfamily


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