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Species-sequence information is taken from Cytochrome P450 Homepage by Dr. Nelson. (last update 2009/06/20)

51 Family

CYP51 encodes sterol 14alpha-demethylase, an essential enzyme for cholesterol and ergosterol biosynthesis, and is possessed by most fungi, plants, and slime molds. In microbes, it is an important drug target because the inhibition of its activity leads to blocks the synthesis of membrane lipids. On the other hand, nematodes and insects lack this gene.

The following text is reproduced from Dr. Nelson's page.
CYP51s were originally all called CYP51, because only one gene was found per species and they all seemed to be in this one conserved family. However, rice had many CYP51s in at least two sequence groups, so subfamilies have been designated for CYP51s. These are not the typical subfamilies, but only one subfamily is created for each major taxonomic group.

  • CYP51A for animals,
  • CYP51B for bacteria,
  • CYP51C for Chromista,
  • CYP51D for Dictyostelium,
  • CYP51E for Euglenozoa,
  • CYP51F for fungi.

Those groups with only one CYP51 per species are all called by one name:

  • CYP51A1 is for all animal CYP51s since they are orthologous.
  • The same is true for CYP51B, C, D, E and F.
  • CYP51G (green plants) and CYP51Hs (monocots only so far) have individual sequence numbers.
  • CYP51G1 refers to the typical CYP51 14 alpha-demethylase gene in plants, usually in one copy per species. A few species have extra CYP51G sequences.
  • CYP51H is another group of related sequences that probably do not

have the same function as CYP51G. There are many of these in rice.

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  • CYP51, sterol 14-demethylase; obtusifoliol-14alpha-demethylase,


  • CYPedia CYP51 Functional Prediction (Cytochrome P450 Expression Database using Arabidopsis) by IBMP Strasbourg.
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