Genome-wide analysis of the MADS-box gene family in Populus trichocarpa

Charles H Leseberg, Aili Li, Hui Kang, Melvin Duvall, Long Mao
Gene 2006 August 15, 378: 84-94
Populus trichocarpa (poplar) is distinguished from its herbaceous counterparts Arabidopsis and rice by its woody structure, perennial life cycle, and dioecious, two-whorled flowers. MADS-box genes are known to be involved in many important processes during plant development. Investigation of the poplar genome revealed 105 putative functional MADS-box genes and 12 pseudogenes. These numbers are comparable to those in Arabidopsis. However, poplar has 64 type II MADS-box genes, implying a higher birth rate when compared with Arabidopsis (64 vs.47). In addition to duplications for floral organ identity genes, TM3-like, StMADS11, ANR1 and Bs clades were significantly increased. As indicated by the phylogenetic analysis, there exist at least two MIKC* MADS-box genes in the poplar genome. In contrast, only 41 putative functional type I genes and 9 pseudogenes were found, suggesting that the poplar type I MADS-box genes have experienced a lower rate in both birth and death. Poplar MADS-box genes were distributed on all linkage groups (LGs), except LG XIX. Like other gene families, poplar MADS-box gene family has expanded through tandem gene duplication and segmental duplication events as demonstrated by two genomic regions where clustered MADS-box genes exhibited high similarities in the MADS-box domains. A survey of poplar EST sequences showed that MADS-box genes were expressed in wood and cambium tissues, which are specific to woody plants. The expression of common MADS-box gene in tree-specific tissues suggests that the novel function combinations of a set of genes similar to those in herbaceous plants may account for the development of woody characteristics in poplar.

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