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Mol Genet Genomics. 2003 Dec;270(4):347-61. Epub 2003 Nov 4.

Evolution and microsynteny of the apyrase gene family in three legume genomes.

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  • 1Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.


Apyrases have been suggested to play important roles in plant nutrition, photomorphogenesis, and nodulation. To help trace the evolution of these genes in the legumes--and possibly, the acquisition of new functions for nodulation--apyrase-containing BACs were sequenced from three legume genomes. Genomic sequences from Medicago truncatula, Glycine max and Lotus japonicus were compared to one another and to corresponding regions in Arabidopsis thaliana. A phylogenetic analysis of apyrase homologs from these regions and sequences from other legume species, as well as other plant families, identified a potentially legume-specific clade that contains a well-characterized soybean ( G. soja) apyrase, Gs52, as well as homologs from Dolichos, Lotus, Medicago and Pisum. Sister clades contain homologs from members of Brassicaceae, Solanaceae, Poaceae and Fabaceae. Comparisons of rates of change at synonymous and nonsynonymous sites in the Gs52 and sister clades show rapid evolution in the potentially legume-specific Gs52 clade. The genomic organization of the apyrase-containing BACs shows evidence of gene duplication, genomic rearrangement, and gene conversion among Gs52 homologs. Taken together, these results suggest a scenario of local apyrase gene duplication in an ancestor of the legumes, followed by functional diversification and increased rates of change in the new genes, and further duplications in the Galegae (which include the genera Medicago and Pisum). The study also provides a detailed comparison of genomic regions between two model genomes which are now being sequenced ( M. truncatulaand L. japonicus), and a genome from an economically important legume species ( G. max).

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