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Plant J. 2000 Jan;21(2):231-5.

c-MYB oncogene-like genes encoding three MYB repeats occur in all major plant lineages.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Züchtungsforschung, Abteilung Biochemie, Köln, Germany.


Since the identification of the first plant MYB-like protein, the Zea mays factor C1, the number of MYB-related genes described has greatly increased. All of the more than 150 plant MYB-like proteins known so far contain either two or only one sequence-related helix-turn-helix motif in their DNA-binding domain. Animal c-MYB genes contain three such helix-turn-helix motif-encoding repeats (R1R2R3 class genes). It has therefore been concluded that R2R3-MYB genes are the plant equivalents of c-MYB and that there are significant differences in the basic structure of MYB genes of plants and animals. Here, we describe expressed R1R2R3-MYB genes from Physcomitrella patients++ and Arabidopsis thaliana, designated PpMYB3R-1 and AtMYB3R-1. The amino acid sequences of their DNA-binding domains show high similarity to those of animal MYB factors, and less similarity to R2R3-MYB proteins from plants. In addition, R1R2R3-MYB genes were identified in different plant evolutionary lineages including mosses, ferns and monocots. Our data show that a DNA-binding domain consisting of three MYB repeats existed before the divergence of the animal and plant lineages. R1R2R3-MYB genes may have a conserved function in eukaryotes, and R2R3-MYB genes may predominantly regulate plant-specific processes which evolved during plant speciation.

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