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PeerJ. 2017 Sep 11;5:e3790. doi: 10.7717/peerj.3790. eCollection 2017.

The evolutionary history of plant T2/S-type ribonucleases.

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1
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, United States of America.

Abstract

A growing number of T2/S-RNases are being discovered in plant genomes. Members of this protein family have a variety of known functions, but the vast majority are still uncharacterized. We present data and analyses of phylogenetic relationships among T2/S-RNases, and pay special attention to the group that contains the female component of the most widespread system of self-incompatibility in flowering plants. The returned emphasis on the initially identified component of this mechanism yields important conjectures about its evolutionary context. First, we find that the clade involved in self-rejection (class III) is found exclusively in core eudicots, while the remaining clades contain members from other vascular plants. Second, certain features, such as intron patterns, isoelectric point, and conserved amino acid regions, help differentiate S-RNases, which are necessary for expression of self-incompatibility, from other T2/S-RNase family members. Third, we devise and present a set of approaches to clarify new S-RNase candidates from existing genome assemblies. We use genomic features to identify putative functional and relictual S-loci in genomes of plants with unknown mechanisms of self-incompatibility. The widespread occurrence of possible relicts suggests that the loss of functional self-incompatibility may leave traces long after the fact, and that this manner of molecular fossil-like data could be an important source of information about the history and distribution of both RNase-based and other mechanisms of self-incompatibility. Finally, we release a public resource intended to aid the search for S-locus RNases, and help provide increasingly detailed information about their taxonomic distribution.

KEYWORDS:

Evolution; GSI; Gametophytic self-incompatibility; Gene family; Homology; Plants; S-RNase; Self-incompatibility; Self-incompatibility RNase; T2-RNase

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