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Plant Physiol. 2011 Dec;157(4):1609-27. doi: 10.1104/pp.111.188300. Epub 2011 Oct 21.

The Mediator complex in plants: structure, phylogeny, and expression profiling of representative genes in a dicot (Arabidopsis) and a monocot (rice) during reproduction and abiotic stress.

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Interdisciplinary Centre for Plant Genomics and Department of Plant Molecular Biology, University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi 110021, India.


The Mediator (Med) complex relays regulatory information from DNA-bound transcription factors to the RNA polymerase II in eukaryotes. This macromolecular unit is composed of three core subcomplexes in addition to a separable kinase module. In this study, conservation of Meds has been investigated in 16 plant species representing seven diverse groups across the plant kingdom. Using Hidden Markov Model-based conserved motif searches, we have identified all the known yeast/metazoan Med components in one or more plant groups, including the Med26 subunits, which have not been reported so far for any plant species. We also detected orthologs for the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) Med32, -33, -34, -35, -36, and -37 in all the plant groups, and in silico analysis identified the Med32 and Med33 subunits as apparent orthologs of yeast/metazoan Med2/29 and Med5/24, respectively. Consequently, the plant Med complex appears to be composed of one or more members of 34 subunits, as opposed to 25 and 30 members in yeast and metazoans, respectively. Despite low similarity in primary Med sequences between the plants and their fungal/metazoan partners, secondary structure modeling of these proteins revealed a remarkable similarity between them, supporting the conservation of Med organization across kingdoms. Phylogenetic analysis between plant, human, and yeast revealed single clade relatedness for 29 Med genes families in plants, plant Meds being closer to human than to yeast counterparts. Expression profiling of rice (Oryza sativa) and Arabidopsis Med genes reveals that Meds not only act as a basal regulator of gene expression but may also have specific roles in plant development and under abiotic stress conditions.

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