The biochemical properties of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase of two different Drosophila species, Drosophila simulans and Drosophila virilis, were studied and compared with those of Drosophila melanogaster Adhs enzyme. All of them consist of two identical subunits of molecular weight 27800 and share significant similarities in function. The substrate specificities of these enzymes were characterized and Km(app.) and Vmax.(app.) values were calculated. All these alcohol dehydrogenases show greater affinity for secondary rather than for primary alcohols. The amino acid compositions of the three enzymes were determined, and there is a close similarity between the D. simulans and the D. melanogaster enzymes, but there are significant differences from the alcohol dehydrogenase of D. virilis. The N-terminal amino acid is blocked and the C-terminal amino acid is the same for all three alcohol dehydrogenases. The enzymes from the three species were carboxymethylated and digested with trypsin. The peptide ‘maps’ reveal, as expected, more homologies between the enzymes of D. simulans and D. melanogaster than with the enzyme of D. virilis.

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