Send to

Choose Destination
Plant Physiol. 2009 May;150(1):12-26. doi: 10.1104/pp.108.134353. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Evolutionary history and stress regulation of plant receptor-like kinase/pelle genes.

Author information

Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA.


Receptor-Like Kinase (RLK)/Pelle genes play roles ranging from growth regulation to defense response, and the dramatic expansion of this family has been postulated to be crucial for plant-specific adaptations. Despite this, little is known about the history of or the factors that contributed to the dramatic expansion of this gene family. In this study, we show that expansion coincided with the establishment of land plants and that RLK/Pelle subfamilies were established early in land plant evolution. The RLK/Pelle family expanded at a significantly higher rate than other kinases, due in large part to expansion of a few subfamilies by tandem duplication. Interestingly, these subfamilies tend to have members with known roles in defense response, suggesting that their rapid expansion was likely a consequence of adaptation to fast-evolving pathogens. Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) expression data support the importance of RLK/Pelles in biotic stress response. We found that hundreds of RLK/Pelles are up-regulated by biotic stress. Furthermore, stress responsiveness is correlated with the degree of tandem duplication in RLK/Pelle subfamilies. Our findings suggest a link between stress response and tandem duplication and provide an explanation for why a large proportion of the RLK/Pelle gene family is found in tandem repeats. In addition, our findings provide a useful framework for potentially predicting RLK/Pelle stress functions based on knowledge of expansion pattern and duplication mechanism. Finally, we propose that the detection of highly variable molecular patterns associated with specific pathogens/parasites is the main reason for the up-regulation of hundreds of RLK/Pelles under biotic stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center