Comparison of cytochrome P450 in three butterflyfish species: Ecological implications of elevated CYP2B and CYP3A in Chaetodon capistratus Academic Article uri icon


  • The relationship between cytochrome P450 and feeding on terpenoid-rich gorgonian corals was investigated in a species of tropical butterflyfish and compared with two other sympatric congeners that do not feed on gorgonians. Fish were collected from non-polluted waters in Belize and the levels of two cytochrome P450 isozymes (CYP2B and CYP3A) were immuno-quantitated in addition to quantification of total P450. Chaetodon capistratus regularly feeds on gorgonian corals and has higher levels of total hepatic microsomal cytochrome P450 than C. ocellatus or C. striatus. The content of hepatic P450 (0.588-0.794 nmol mg(-1)) in C. capistratus is among the highest ever reported in teleosts from non-polluted waters and is significantly gr eater than detected in C. ocellatus or C. striatus. Chaetodon capistratus also had a larger hepatic index (g liver per g fish) and more microsomal protein (mg protein per g liver), factors that translate into 3.3- to 8-fold more total P450 per g fish. Sexual differences in total P450 were observed between male and female C. capistratus, but not among the other species. The contents of proteins detected by immunoassay with polyclonal anti-scup P450B (CYP2B) and anti-human P4503A (CYP3A) were 2- to 10-fold and 2- to 20-fold greater, respectively, in C. capistratus than in the congeneric species. CYP2 and CYP3 gene families in mammals are thought to have evolved partially in response to dietary allelochemicals. These results suggest that these P450 isozymes may also be important in marine teleosts that feed on terpenoid-rich prey.

publication date

  • January 1995