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Plant Cell Rep. 2013 Dec;32(12):1879-90. doi: 10.1007/s00299-013-1500-8. Epub 2013 Sep 8.

The phytochrome gene family in soybean and a dominant negative effect of a soybean PHYA transgene on endogenous Arabidopsis PHYA.

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MOA Key Lab of Soybean Biology (Beijing), National Key Facility of Crop Gene Resource and Genetic Improvement, Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 12 Zhongguancun Nandajie, Haidian District, Beijing, 100081, China.



The evolutionary origin of the phytochrome genes in soybean was analyzed. The expression profiles of PHYA paralogs were characterized. The heterologous expression of GmPHYA1 in Arabidopsis resulted in longer hypocotyls. The phytochromes (PHY) are a small family of red/far-red light photoreceptors which regulate a number of important developmental responses in plants. So far, the members of the PHY gene family in soybean (Glycine max) remain unclear and an understanding of each member's physiological functions is limited. Our present in silico analysis revealed that the soybean genome harbors four PHYA, two PHYB and two PHYE, totally four pairs of eight PHY loci. The phylogenetic analysis suggested that the four PHY paralogous pairs originated from the latest round of genome duplication (~13 million years ago) and the four copies of PHYA were remnants of the two rounds of genome duplication (~58 and ~13 million years ago). A possible evolutionary history of PHYA homologs in the three legume species (soybean, Medicago truncatula, and Lotus japonicus) was proposed and the fate of duplicate soybean PHYA genes following polyploidization was discussed. The expression profiles of a soybean PHYA paralogous pair (GmPHYA1 and GmPHYA2) showed that the transcript abundance was highest in the aerial organs of young plants. The physiological role of GmPHYA1 was explored by observing the de-etiolation phenotype of transgenic Arabidopsis plants constitutively expressing GmPHYA1. The GmPHYA1 protein interfered with the function of endogenous PHYA with respect to de-etiolation in a dominant negative manner when exogenously expressed in Arabidopsis. The elucidation of the PHY gene family members in soybean provide us with a general description and understanding of the photoreceptor gene family in this important crop plant.

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