Dynamic nucleotide-binding site and leucine-rich repeat-encoding genes in the grass family

Sha Luo, Yu Zhang, Qun Hu, Jiongjiong Chen, Kunpeng Li, Chen Lu, Hui Liu, Wen Wang, Hanhui Kuang
Plant Physiology 2012, 159 (1): 197-210
The proper use of resistance genes (R genes) requires a comprehensive understanding of their genomics and evolution. We analyzed genes encoding nucleotide-binding sites and leucine-rich repeats in the genomes of rice (Oryza sativa), maize (Zea mays), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), and Brachypodium distachyon. Frequent deletions and translocations of R genes generated prevalent presence/absence polymorphism between different accessions/species. The deletions were caused by unequal crossover, homologous repair, nonhomologous repair, or other unknown mechanisms. R gene loci identified from different genomes were mapped onto the chromosomes of rice cv Nipponbare using comparative genomics, resulting in an integrated map of 495 R loci. Sequence analysis of R genes from the partially sequenced genomes of an African rice cultivar and 10 wild accessions suggested that there are many additional R gene lineages in the AA genome of Oryza. The R genes with chimeric structures (termed type I R genes) are diverse in different rice accessions but only account for 5.8% of all R genes in the Nipponbare genome. In contrast, the vast majority of R genes in the rice genome are type II R genes, which are highly conserved in different accessions. Surprisingly, pseudogene-causing mutations in some type II lineages are often conserved, indicating that their conservations were not due to their functions. Functional R genes cloned from rice so far have more type II R genes than type I R genes, but type I R genes are predicted to contribute considerable diversity in wild species. Type I R genes tend to reduce the microsynteny of their flanking regions significantly more than type II R genes, and their flanking regions have slightly but significantly lower G/C content than those of type II R genes.

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