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Mol Biol Evol. 2006 Jan;23(1):107-20. Epub 2005 Sep 8.

Phylogeny and domain evolution in the APETALA2-like gene family.

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  • 1Department of Botany, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA. sangtae@botany.ufl.edu


The combined processes of gene duplication, nucleotide substitution, domain duplication, and intron/exon shuffling can generate a complex set of related genes that may differ substantially in their expression patterns and functions. The APETALA2-like (AP2-like) gene family exhibits patterns of both gene and domain duplication, coupled with changes in sequence, exon arrangement, and expression. In angiosperms, these genes perform an array of functions including the establishment of the floral meristem, the specification of floral organ identity, the regulation of floral homeotic gene expression, the regulation of ovule development, and the growth of floral organs. To determine patterns of gene diversification, we conducted a series of broad phylogenetic analyses of AP2-like sequences from green plants. These studies indicate that the AP2 domain was duplicated prior to the divergence of the two major lineages of AP2-like genes, euAP2 and AINTEGUMENTA (ANT). Structural features of the AP2-like genes as well as phylogenetic analyses of nucleotide and amino acid (aa) sequences of the AP2-like gene family support the presence of the two major lineages. The ANT lineage is supported by a 10-aa insertion in the AP2-R1 domain and a 1-aa insertion in the AP2-R2 domain, relative to all other members of the AP2-like family. MicroRNA172-binding sequences, the function of which has been studied in some of the AP2-like genes in Arabidopsis, are restricted to the euAP2 lineage. Within the ANT lineage, the euANT lineage is characterized by four conserved motifs: one in the 10-aa insertion in the AP2-R1 domain (euANT1) and three in the predomain region (euANT2, euANT3, and euANT4). Our expression studies show that the euAP2 homologue from Amborella trichopoda, the putative sister to all other angiosperms, is expressed in all floral organs as well as leaves.

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