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J Mol Evol. 2006 Jul;63(1):12-29. Epub 2006 May 25.

Phylogenetic and structural relationships of the PR5 gene family reveal an ancient multigene family conserved in plants and select animal taxa.

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U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, USDA, ARS, 2001 South Rock Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34945, USA.


Pathogenesis-related group 5 (PR5) plant proteins include thaumatin, osmotin, and related proteins, many of which have antimicrobial activity. The recent discovery of PR5-like (PR5-L) sequences in nematodes and insects raises questions about their evolutionary relationships. Using complete plant genome data and discovery of multiple insect PR5-L sequences, phylogenetic comparisons among plants and animals were performed. All PR5/PR5-L protein sequences were mined from genome data of a member of each of two main angiosperm groups-the eudicots (Arabidoposis thaliana) and the monocots (Oryza sativa)-and from the Caenorhabditis nematode (C. elegans and C. briggsase). Insect PR5-L sequences were mined from EST databases and GenBank submissions from four insect orders: Coleoptera (Diaprepes abbreviatus and Biphyllus lunatus), Orthoptera (Schistocerca gregaria), Hymenoptera (Lysiphlebus testaceipes), and Hemiptera (Toxoptera citricida). Parsimony and Bayesian phylogenetic analyses showed that the PR5 family is paraphyletic in plants, likely arising from 10 genes in a common ancestor to monocots and eudicots. After evolutionary divergence of monocots and eudicots, PR5 genes increased asymmetrically among the 10 clades. Insects and nematodes contain multiple sequences (seven PR5-Ls in nematodes and at least three in some insects) all related to the same plant clade, with nematode and insect sequences separating as two clades. Protein structural homology modeling showed strong similarity among animal and plant PR5/PR5-Ls, with divergence only in surface-exposed loops. Sequence and structural conservation among PR5/PR5-Ls suggests an important and conserved role throughout the evolutionary divergence of the diverse organisms from which they reside.

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