Identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying tolerance to abiotic stresses is important in crop breeding. A comprehensive understanding of the gene families associated with drought tolerance is therefore highly relevant. NAC transcription factors form a large plant-specific gene family involved in the regulation of tissue development and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. The main goal of this study was to set up a framework of orthologous groups determined by an expert sequence comparison of NAC genes from both monocots and dicots. In order to clarify the orthologous relationships among NAC genes of different species, we performed an in-depth comparative study of four divergent taxa, in dicots and monocots, whose genomes have already been completely sequenced: Arabidopsis thaliana, Vitis vinifera, Musa acuminata and Oryza sativa. Due to independent evolution, NAC copy number is highly variable in these plant genomes. Based on an expert NAC sequence comparison, we propose forty orthologous groups of NAC sequences that were probably derived from an ancestor gene present in the most recent common ancestor of dicots and monocots. These orthologous groups provide a curated resource for large-scale protein sequence annotation of NAC transcription factors. The established orthology relationships also provide a useful reference for NAC function studies in newly sequenced genomes such as M. acuminata and other plant species.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 26, 2014
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