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Genetica. 2011 Aug;139(8):1023-32. doi: 10.1007/s10709-011-9604-y. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

Comparative analysis of evolutionary dynamics of genes encoding leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase between rice and Arabidopsis.

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Plant Genomics Lab, Department of Applied Plant Sciences, Kangwon Natl University, Chuncheon 200-713, Korea.


The leucine-rich repeat (LRR) receptor kinase (RLK) proteins constitute a large superfamily in the plant genome, and carry out key functions in a variety of biological pathways. In an effort to determine the evolutionary fate of members of a large gene family such as plant LRR RLK proteins we conducted in silico analysis using complete genome sequencing datasets, genome-wide transcriptome databases, and bioinformatics tools. A total of 292 and 165 LRR RLK genes were retrieved from the rice and Arabidopsis genomes, respectively, formed by diverse duplication events for gene expansion. The phylogenic analyses of the LRR RLK genes suggested combinations of LRR domains and RLK domains in the ancient plant genome prior to the divergence of rice and Arabidopsis, followed by massive independent expansions during speciation. The somewhat high frequencies (50-73%) of expressional divergence of members of duplicate gene pairs formed by whole/segmental genome duplication (W/SGD) and tandem duplication (TD) events of Arabidopsis and TD events of rice support the idea of their functional diversity for gene retention. By contrast, a relatively low degree (at least 20%) of members of rice LRR RLK gene pairs formed by W/SGD appear to be divergent in expression following the duplication event. At least 7 pairs of co-expressed gene clusters, including each of the tentative orthologous LRR RLK genes between rice and Arabidopsis, were enriched to an orthologous set between members of each of the pairs as compared to those of the random pairs, suggesting some degree of functional conservation of individual genes. These results may shed some light on the crucial functions of the plant LRR RLK genes with regard to a variety of biological processes.

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