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PLoS One. 2019 Feb 22;14(2):e0211635. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0211635. eCollection 2019.

Metacaspase gene family in Rosaceae genomes: Comparative genomic analysis and their expression during pear pollen tube and fruit development.

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School of Life Sciences, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, China.
College of Horticulture, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, China.


Metacaspase (MC), which is discovered gene family with distant caspase homologs in plants, fungi, and protozoa, may be involved in programmed cell death (PCD) processes during plant development and respond abiotic and biotic stresses. To reveal the evolutionary relationship of MC gene family in Rosaceae genomes, we identified 8, 7, 8, 12, 12, and 23 MC genes in the genomes of Fragaria vesca, Prunus mume, Prunus persica, Pyrus communis, Pyrus bretschneideri and Malus domestica, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the MC genes could be grouped into three clades: Type I*, Type I and Type II, which was supported by gene structure and conserved motif analysis. Microsynteny analysis revealed that MC genes present in the corresponding syntenic blocks of P. communis, P. bretschneideri and M. domestica, and further suggested that large-scale duplication events play an important role in the expansion of MC gene family members in these three genomes than other Rosaceae plants (F. vesca, P. mume and P. persica). RNA-seq data showed the specific expression patterns of PbMC genes in response to drought stress. The expression analysis of MC genes demonstrated that PbMC01 and PbMC03 were able to be detected in all four pear pollen tubes and seven fruit development stages. The current study highlighted the evolutionary relationship and duplication of the MC gene family in these six Rosaceae genomes and provided appropriate candidate genes for further studies in P. bretschneideri.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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