Genome-wide survey and expression analysis of the putative non-specific lipid transfer proteins in Brassica rapa L

Jun Li, Guizhen Gao, Kun Xu, Biyun Chen, Guixin Yan, Feng Li, Jiangwei Qiao, Tianyao Zhang, Xiaoming Wu
PloS One 2014, 9 (1): e84556

BACKGROUND: Plant non-specific lipid transfer proteins (nsLtps) are small, basic proteins encoded by multigene families and have reported functions in many physiological processes such as mediating phospholipid transfer, defense reactions against phytopathogens, the adaptation of plants to various environmental conditions, and sexual reproduction. To date, no genome-wide overview of the Brassica rapa nsLtp (BrnsLtp) gene family has been performed. Therefore, as the first step and as a helpful strategy to elucidate the functions of BrnsLtps, a genome-wide study for this gene family is necessary.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDING: In this study, a total of 63 putative BrnsLtp genes were identified through a comprehensive in silico analysis of the whole genome of B. rapa. Based on the sequence similarities, these BrnsLtps was grouped into nine types (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VIII, IX, and XI). There is no type VII nsLtps in B. rapa, and a new type, XI nsLtps, was identified in B. rapa. Furthermore, nine type II AtLtps have no homologous genes in B. rapa. Gene duplication analysis demonstrated that the conserved collinear block of each BrnsLtp is highly identical to those in Arabidopsis and that both segmental duplications and tandem duplications seem to play equal roles in the diversification of this gene family. Expression analysis indicated that 29 out of the 63 BrnsLtps showed specific expression patterns. After careful comparison and analysis, we hypothesize that some of the type I BrnsLtps may function like Arabidopsis pathogenesis-related-14 (PR-14) proteins to protect the plant from phytopathogen attack. Eleven BrnsLtps with inflorescence-specific expression may play important roles in sexual reproduction. Additionally, BrnsLtpI.3 may have functions similar to Arabidopsis LTP1.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The genome-wide identification, bioinformatic analysis and expression analysis of BrnsLtp genes should facilitate research of this gene family and polyploidy evolution and provide new insight towards elucidating their biological functions in plants.

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