Many eukaryotic genomes have experienced ancient whole-genome duplication (WGD) followed by massive gene loss. These eliminations were not random since some gene families were preferentially retained as duplicates. The gene balance hypothesis suggests that those genes with dosage reduction can imbalance their interacting partners or complex, resulting in decreased fitness. In Arabidopsis, the cytoplasmic ribosomal proteins (RP) are encoded by gene families with at least two members. We have focused our study on the two RPS6 genes in an attempt to understand why they have been retained as duplicates. We demonstrate that RPS6 function is vital for the plant. We also show that reducing the level of RPS6 accumulation (in the knock-out rps6a or rps6b single mutants, or in the double heterozygous RPS6A/rps6a,RPS6B/rps6b), confers a slow growth phenotype (haplodeficiency). Importantly, we demonstrate that the functions of two RPS6 genes are redundant and interchangeable. Finally, like in most other described Arabidopsis rp mutants, we observed that a reduced RPS6 level slightly alters the dorsoventral leaf patterning. Our results support the idea that the Arabidopsis RPS6 gene duplicates were evolutionarily retained in order to maintain an expression level necessary to sustain the translational demand of the cell, in agreement with the gene balance hypothesis.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: May 1, 2010
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