The evolution of UDP-glycosyl/glucuronosyltransferase 1E (UGT1E) genes in bird lineages is linked to feeding habits but UGT2 genes is not

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UDP-glycosyltransferase (UGT) catalyzes the transfer of glycosyl groups (e.g., glucuronic acid) to exogenous or endogenous chemicals and plays an important role in conjugation reactions. In vertebrates, UGT genes are divided into 5 families: UGT1, UGT2, UGT3, UGT5, and UGT8. Among these UGT enzymes, UGT1 and UGT2 enzymes are known to be important xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes in mammals. However, little is known about UGT1 and UGT2 genes in avian species. In this study, we therefore aimed to classify avian UGT1 and UGT2 genes based on their evolutionary relationships. We also investigated the association between UGT molecular evolution and ecological factors, specifically feeding habits, habitat, and migration. By examining the genomes of 43 avian species with differing ecology, we showed that avian UGT1E genes are divided into 6 groups and UGT2 genes into 3 groups. Correlations between UGT gene count and ecological factors suggested that the number of UGT1E genes is decreasing in carnivorous species. Estimates of selection pressure also support the hypothesis that diet influenced avian UGT1E gene evolution, similar to mammalian UGT1A and UGT2B genes.


  • PloS one

    PloS one 13(10), e0205266, 2018-10-31



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