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Plant Cell Physiol. 2011 Jun;52(6):1095-106. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcr060. Epub 2011 May 10.

Expression and genome-wide analysis of the xylogen-type gene family.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


In higher plants, many extracellular proteins are involved in developmental processes, including cell-cell signaling and cell wall construction. Xylogen is an extracellular arabinogalactan protein (AGP) isolated from Zinnia elegans xylogenic culture medium, which promotes xylem cell differentiation. Xylogen has a unique structure, containing a non-specific lipid transfer protein (nsLTP) domain and AGP domains. We searched for xylogen-type genes in the genomes of land plants, including Arabidopsis thaliana, to further our knowledge of xylogen-type genes as functional extracellular proteins in plants. We found that many xylogen-type genes, including 13 Arabidopsis genes, comprise a gene family in land plants, including Populus trichocarpa, Vitis vinifera, Lotus japonicus, Oryza sativa, Selaginella moellendorffii and Physcomitrella patens. The genes shared an N-terminal signal peptide sequence, a distinct nsLTP domain, one or more AGP domains and a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored sequence. We analyzed transgenic plants harboring promoter::GUS (β-glucuronidase) constructs to test expression of the 13 Arabidopsis xylogen-type genes, and detected a diversity of gene family members with related expression patterns. AtXYP2 was the best candidate as the Arabidopsis counterpart of the Zinnia xylogen gene. We observed two distinct expression patterns for several genes, with some anther specific and others preferentially expressed in the endodermis/pericycle. We conclude that xylogen-type genes, which may have diverse functions, form a novel chimeric AGP gene family with a distinct nsLTP domain.

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