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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 16;8(4):e62206. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062206. Print 2013.

Genome-wide analysis of the expansin gene superfamily reveals grapevine-specific structural and functional characteristics.

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  • 1Department of Biotechnology, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Expansins are proteins that loosen plant cell walls in a pH-dependent manner, probably by increasing the relative movement among polymers thus causing irreversible expansion. The expansin superfamily (EXP) comprises four distinct families: expansin A (EXPA), expansin B (EXPB), expansin-like A (EXLA) and expansin-like B (EXLB). There is experimental evidence that EXPA and EXPB proteins are required for cell expansion and developmental processes involving cell wall modification, whereas the exact functions of EXLA and EXLB remain unclear. The complete grapevine (Vitis vinifera) genome sequence has allowed the characterization of many gene families, but an exhaustive genome-wide analysis of expansin gene expression has not been attempted thus far.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We identified 29 EXP superfamily genes in the grapevine genome, representing all four EXP families. Members of the same EXP family shared the same exon-intron structure, and phylogenetic analysis confirmed a closer relationship between EXP genes from woody species, i.e. grapevine and poplar (Populus trichocarpa), compared to those from Arabidopsis thaliana and rice (Oryza sativa). We also identified grapevine-specific duplication events involving the EXLB family. Global gene expression analysis confirmed a strong correlation among EXP genes expressed in mature and green/vegetative samples, respectively, as reported for other gene families in the recently-published grapevine gene expression atlas. We also observed the specific co-expression of EXLB genes in woody organs, and the involvement of certain grapevine EXP genes in berry development and post-harvest withering.

CONCLUSION:

Our comprehensive analysis of the grapevine EXP superfamily confirmed and extended current knowledge about the structural and functional characteristics of this gene family, and also identified properties that are currently unique to grapevine expansin genes. Our data provide a model for the functional characterization of grapevine gene families by combining phylogenetic analysis with global gene expression profiling.

PMID:
23614035
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3628503
Free PMC Article
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