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Genome Res. 2002 Dec;12(12):1871-84.

Diversity in nucleotide binding site-leucine-rich repeat genes in cereals.

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Department of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506-5502, USA.


The diversity of the largest group of plant disease resistance genes, the nucleotide binding site-leucine-rich repeat (NBS-LRR) genes, was examined in cereals following polymerase chain reaction (PCR) cloning and database mining. NBS-LRR genes in rice are a large and diverse class with more than 600 genes, at least three to four times the complement of Arabidopsis. Most occur in small families containing one or a few cross-hybridizing members. Unlike in Arabidopsis and other dicots, the class of NBS-LRR genes coding for a Toll and mammalian interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domain were not amplified during the evolution of the cereals. Genes coding for TIR domains are present in the rice genome, but have diverged from the NBS-LRR genes. Most cereal genes are similar in structure to the members of the non-TIR class of dicots, although many do not code for a coiled-coil domain in their amino termini. One unique class of cereal genes, with ~50 members, codes for proteins similar to the N-termini and NBS domains of resistance genes but does not code for LRR domains. The resistance gene repertoire of grasses has changed from that of dicots in their independent evolution since the two groups diverged. It is not clear whether this reflects a difference in downstream defense signaling pathways.

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