Parker, J.D., Parker, K.M. and Keller, L.
Molecular phylogenetic evidence for an extracellular Cu
Zn superoxide dismutase gene in insects.
Insect Molecular Biology, 13, (6), . (doi:10.1111/j.0962-1075.2004.00515.x).
Representatives of three ancient gene families of
the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD)
can be found in most metazoans. In mammals and
Caenorhabditis elegans, there is at least one gene
each of the cytoplasmic, mitochondrial and extracellular
lineages of SOD genes. The cytoplasmic SOD
was one of the first enzymes to be implicated in ageing
due to its protection against damaging oxygen free
radicals. In contrast to other metazoans, insects were
thought to lack a gene for the extracellular SOD. We
have cloned and sequenced an SOD mRNA in the ant
that appears to belong to this extracellular
family. Subsequent searches and analyses of SOD
gene sequences in insect databases revealed that
insects do indeed express all three SOD genes including
the extracellular form. We conclude that insects as
well as other metazoans appear to have the full repertoire
of the three families of SOD.
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