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Gene. 2006 Aug 15;378:74-83. Epub 2006 May 26.

Evolutionary history of the Asr gene family.

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Laboratorio de Fisiología y Biología Molecular, Departamento de Fisiología, Biología Molecular y Celular, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, and IFIBYNE-CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The Asr gene family is widespread in higher plants. Most Asr genes are up-regulated under different environmental stress conditions and during fruit ripening. ASR proteins are localized in the nucleus and their likely function is transcriptional regulation. In cultivated tomato, we identified a novel fourth family member, named Asr4, which maps close to its sibling genes Asr1-Asr2-Asr3 and displays an unshared region coding for a domain containing a 13-amino acid repeat. In this work we were able to expand our previous analysis for Asr2 and investigated the coding regions of the four known Asr paralogous genes in seven tomato species from different geographic locations. In addition, we performed a phylogenetic analysis on ASR proteins. The first conclusion drawn from this work is that tomato ASR proteins cluster together in the tree. This observation can be explained by a scenario of concerted evolution or birth and death of genes. Secondly, our study showed that Asr1 is highly conserved at both replacement and synonymous sites within the genus Lycopersicon. ASR1 protein sequence conservation might be associated with its multiple functions in different tissues while the low rate of synonymous substitutions suggests that silent variation in Asr1 is selectively constrained, which is probably related to its high expression levels. Finally, we found that Asr1 activation under water stress is not conserved between Lycopersicon species.

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