Selection and methionine accumulation in the fat body protein 2 gene (FBP2), a duplicate of the Drosophila alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) gene

J Mol Evol. 1997 Jan;44(1):23-32. doi: 10.1007/pl00006118.


The Drosophila fat body protein 2 gene (Fbp2) is an ancient duplication of the alcohol dehydrogenase gene (Adh) which encodes a protein that differs substantially from ADH in its methionine content. In D. melanogaster, there is one methionine in ADH, while there are 51 (20% of all amino acids) in FBP2. Methionine is involved in 46% of amino acid replacements when Fbp2 DNA sequences are compared between D. melanogaster and D. pseudoobscura. Methionine accumulation does not affect conserved residues of the ADH-ADHr-FBP2 multigene family. The multigene family has evolved by replacement of mildly hydrophobic amino acids by methionine with no apparent reversion. Its short-term evolution was compared between two Drosophila species, while its long-term evolution was compared between two genera belonging respectively to acalyptrate and calyptrate Diptera, Drosophila and Sarcophaga. The pattern of nucleotide substitution was consistent with an independent accumulation of methionines at the Fbp2 locus in each lineage. Under a steady-state model, the rate of methionine accumulation was constant in the lineage leading to Drosophila, and was twice as fast as that in the calyptrate lineage. Substitution rates were consistent with a slight positive selective advantage for each methionine change in about one-half of amino acid sites in Drosophila. This shows that selection can potentially account for a large proportion of amino acid replacements in the molecular evolution of proteins.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Drosophila / enzymology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genes, Insect / genetics
  • Methionine / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Methionine
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase