Cynomolgus and Japanese monkey kidneys, dog and pig livers and rabbit lens contain dimeric dihydrodiol dehydrogenase (EC 1.3.1.20) associated with high carbonyl reductase activity. Here we have isolated cDNA species for the dimeric enzymes by reverse transcriptase-PCR from human intestine in addition to the above five animal tissues. The amino acid sequences deduced from the monkey, pig and dog cDNA species perfectly matched the partial sequences of peptides digested from the respective enzymes of these animal tissues, and active recombinant proteins were expressed in a bacterial system from the monkey and human cDNA species. Northern blot analysis revealed the existence of a single 1.3 kb mRNA species for the enzyme in these animal tissues. The human enzyme shared 94%, 85%, 84% and 82% amino acid identity with the enzymes of the two monkey strains (their sequences were identical), the dog, the pig and the rabbit respectively. The sequences of the primate enzymes consisted of 335 amino acid residues and lacked one amino acid compared with the other animal enzymes. In contrast with previous reports that other types of dihydrodiol dehydrogenase, carbonyl reductases and enzymes with either activity belong to the aldo-keto reductase family or the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase family, dimeric dihydrodiol dehydrogenase showed no sequence similarity with the members of the two protein families. The dimeric enzyme aligned with low degrees of identity (14-25%) with several prokaryotic proteins, in which 47 residues are strictly or highly conserved. Thus dimeric dihydrodiol dehydrogenase has a primary structure distinct from the previously known mammalian enzymes and is suggested to constitute a novel protein family with the prokaryotic proteins.

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Author notes

The nucleotide sequence data reported will appear in DDBJ, EMBL and GenBank Nucleotide Sequence Databases under the accession numbers AB021928 (rabbit), AB021929 (pig), AB021930 (dog), AB021931 (Japanese monkey), AB021932 (Cynomolgus monkey) and AB021933 (human).