New cytochrome P450 1B1, 1C2 and 1D1 genes in the killifish Fundulus heteroclitus: Basal expression and response of five killifish CYP1s to the AHR agonist PCB126. Academic Article uri icon


  • Knowledge of the complement of cytochrome P450 (CYP) genes is essential to understanding detoxification and bioactivation mechanisms for organic contaminants. We cloned three new CYP1 genes, CYP1B1, CYP1C2 and CYP1D1, from the killifish Fundulus heteroclitus, an important model in environmental toxicology. Expression of the new CYP1s along with previously known CYP1A and CYP1C1 was measured by qPCR in eight different organs. Organ distribution was similar for the two CYP1Cs, but otherwise patterns and extent of expression differed among the genes. The AHR agonist 3,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB126) (31 pmol/g fish) induced expression of CYP1A and CYP1B1 in all organs examined, while CYP1C1 was induced in all organs except testis. The largest changes in response to PCB126 were induction of CYP1A in testis (approximately 700-fold) and induction of CYP1C1 in liver (approximately 500-fold). CYP1B1 in liver and gut, CYP1A in brain and CYP1C1 in gill also were induced strongly by PCB126 (> 100-fold). CYP1C1 expression levels were higher than CYP1C2 in almost all tissues and CYP1C2 was much less responsive to PCB126. In contrast to the other genes, CYP1D1 was not induced by PCB126 in any of the organs. The organ-specific response of CYP1s to PCB126 implies differential involvement in effects of halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons in different organs. The suite of inducible CYP1s could enhance the use of F. heteroclitus in assessing aquatic contamination by AHR agonists. Determining basal and induced levels of protein and the substrate specificity for all five CYP1s will be necessary to better understand their roles in chemical effects and physiology.

publication date

  • July 26, 2009