Jacalin-related lectins (JRLs) are carbohydrate-binding proteins widely present in plants and have one or more jacalin domains in common. However, JRLs’ structural types and functions are still poorly understood. In the present study, a total of 67 wheat (Triticum aestivum) JRL genes were identified through an exhausted search of EST database coupling with genome walking using published 454 sequence reads of Chinese Spring. A comparison of the translated wheat JRL proteins with those from other plants showed plant JRLs generally had low sequence similarity within and between species but exhibited conserved modular domain structures. More JRL genes encoded multiple jacalin domains in Arabidopsis thaliana, whereas more genes encoded chimeric JRLs in cereal plants. Dirigent domain-containing JRL genes were Poaceae-specific and accounted for nearly half of the identified wheat JRL genes. The dirigent domains were evolutionarily significantly correlated with the covalently linked jacalin domains. A phylogenetic analysis showed JRL proteins have experienced a substantial diversification after speciation. Moreover, new structural features conserved across the taxa were identified. Digital expression analysis and RT-PCR assays showed the expression of wheat JRL genes was largely tissue specific, typically low, and mostly inducible by biotic and abiotic stresses and stress hormones. These results suggest plant JRLs are critical for plant adaptation to stressful environments.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 20, 2013
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