Genome-wide identification and analysis of MAPK and MAPKK gene families in Brachypodium distachyon

Lihong Chen, Wei Hu, Shenglong Tan, Min Wang, Zhanbing Ma, Shiyi Zhou, Xiaomin Deng, Yang Zhang, Chao Huang, Guangxiao Yang, Guangyuan He
PloS One 2012, 7 (10): e46744
MAPK cascades are universal signal transduction modules and play important roles in plant growth, development and in response to a variety of biotic and abiotic stresses. Although MAPKs and MAPKKs have been systematically investigated in several plant species including Arabidopsis, rice and poplar, no systematic analysis has been conducted in the emerging monocot model plant Brachypodium distachyon. In the present study, a total of 16 MAPK genes and 12 MAPKK genes were identified from B. distachyon. An analysis of the genomic evolution showed that both tandem and segment duplications contributed significantly to the expansion of MAPK and MAPKK families. Evolutionary relationships within subfamilies were supported by exon-intron organizations and the architectures of conserved protein motifs. Synteny analysis between B. distachyon and the other two plant species of rice and Arabidopsis showed that only one homolog of B. distachyon MAPKs was found in the corresponding syntenic blocks of Arabidopsis, while 13 homologs of B. distachyon MAPKs and MAPKKs were found in that of rice, which was consistent with the speciation process of the three species. In addition, several interactive protein pairs between the two families in B. distachyon were found through yeast two hybrid assay, whereas their orthologs of a pair in Arabidopsis and other plant species were not found to interact with each other. Finally, expression studies of closely related family members among B. distachyon, Arabidopsis and rice showed that even recently duplicated representatives may fulfill different functions and be involved in different signal pathways. Taken together, our data would provide a foundation for evolutionary and functional characterization of MAPK and MAPKK gene families in B. distachyon and other plant species to unravel their biological roles.

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