Evolution of ALOG gene family suggests various roles in establishing plant architecture of Torenia fournieri

Wei Xiao, Ziqing Ye, Xinran Yao, Liang He, Yawen Lei, Da Luo, Shihao Su
BMC Plant Biology 2018 September 20, 18 (1): 204

BACKGROUND: ALOG (Arabidopsis LSH1 and Oryza G1) family with a conserved domain widely exists in plants. A handful of ALOG members have been functionally characterized, suggesting their roles as key developmental regulators. However, the evolutionary scenario of this gene family during the diversification of plant species remains largely unclear.

METHODS: Here, we isolated seven ALOG genes from Torenia fournieri and phylogenetically analyzed them with different ALOG members from representative plants in major taxonomic clades. We further examined their gene expression patterns by RT-PCR, and regarding the protein subcellular localization, we co-expressed the candidates with a nuclear marker. Finally, we explored the functional diversification of two ALOG members, TfALOG1 in euALOG1 and TfALOG2 in euALOG4 sub-clades by obtaining the transgenic T. fournieri plants.

RESULTS: The ALOG gene family can be divided into different lineages, indicating that extensive duplication events occurred within eudicots, grasses and bryophytes, respectively. In T. fournieri, seven TfALOG genes from four sub-clades exhibit distinct expression patterns. TfALOG1-6 YFP-fused proteins were accumulated in the nuclear region, while TfALOG7-YFP was localized both in nuclear and cytoplasm, suggesting potentially functional diversification. In the 35S:TfALOG1 transgenic lines, normal development of petal epidermal cells was disrupted, accompanied with changes in the expression of MIXTA-like genes. In 35S:TfALOG2 transgenic lines, the leaf mesophyll cells development was abnormal, favoring functional differences between the two homologous proteins. Unfortunately, we failed to observe any phenotypical changes in the TfALOG1 knock-out mutants, which might be due to functional redundancy as the case in Arabidopsis.

CONCLUSION: Our results unraveled the evolutionary history of ALOG gene family, supporting the idea that changes occurred in the cis regulatory and/or nonconserved coding regions of ALOG genes may result in new functions during the establishment of plant architecture.


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