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Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 13;6:24265. doi: 10.1038/srep24265.

Genome-wide identification, structural analysis and new insights into late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) gene family formation pattern in Brassica napus.

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Department of Biotechnology, College of Life Science and Technology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430074 China.
Hubei Collaborative Innovation Center for the Characteristic Resources Exploitation of Dabie Mountains, Huanggang Normal University, Huanggang 438000, China.


Late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins are a diverse and large group of polypeptides that play important roles in desiccation and freezing tolerance in plants. The LEA family has been systematically characterized in some plants but not Brassica napus. In this study, 108 BnLEA genes were identified in the B. napus genome and classified into eight families based on their conserved domains. Protein sequence alignments revealed an abundance of alanine, lysine and glutamic acid residues in BnLEA proteins. The BnLEA gene structure has few introns (<3), and they are distributed unevenly across all 19 chromosomes in B. napus, occurring as gene clusters in chromosomes A9, C2, C4 and C5. More than two-thirds of the BnLEA genes are associated with segmental duplication. Synteny analysis revealed that most LEA genes are conserved, although gene losses or gains were also identified. These results suggest that segmental duplication and whole-genome duplication played a major role in the expansion of the BnLEA gene family. Expression profiles analysis indicated that expression of most BnLEAs was increased in leaves and late stage seeds. This study presents a comprehensive overview of the LEA gene family in B. napus and provides new insights into the formation of this family.

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