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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2004 Apr;31(1):153-63.

Comparative analysis of NBS domain sequences of NBS-LRR disease resistance genes from sunflower, lettuce, and chicory.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA 02125-3393, USA.


Plant resistance to many types of pathogens and pests can be achieved by the presence of disease resistance (R) genes. The nucleotide binding site-leucine rich repeat (NBS-LRR) class of R-genes is the most commonly isolated class of R-genes and makes up a super-family, which is often arranged in the genome as large multi-gene clusters. The NBS domain of these genes can be targeted by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification using degenerate primers. Previous studies have used PCR derived NBS sequences to investigate both ancient R-gene evolution and recent evolution within specific plant families. However, comparative studies with the Asteraceae family have largely been ignored. In this study, we address recent evolution of NBS sequences within the Asteraceae and extend the comparison to the Arabidopsis thaliana genome. Using multiple sets of primers, NBS fragments were amplified from genomic DNA of three species from the family Asteraceae: Helianthus annuus (sunflower), Lactuca sativa (lettuce), and Cichorium intybus (chicory). Analysis suggests that Asteraceae species share distinct families of R-genes, composed of genes related to both coiled-coil (CC) and toll-interleukin-receptor homology (TIR) domain containing NBS-LRR R-genes. Between the most closely related species, (lettuce and chicory) a striking similarity of CC subfamily composition was identified, while sunflower showed less similarity in structure. These sequences were also compared to the A. thaliana genome. Asteraceae NBS gene subfamilies appear to be distinct from Arabidopsis gene clades. These data suggest that NBS families in the Asteraceae family are ancient, but also that gene duplication and gene loss events occur and change the composition of these gene subfamilies over time.

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