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    Pathogen receptor proteins such as receptor-like protein (RLP), receptor-like kinase (RLK), and nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) play a leading role in plant immunity activation. The genome architecture of such genes has been extensively investigated in several plant species. However, we still know little about their elaborate reorganization that arose during the plant speciation process. Using recently released pepper and eggplant genome sequences, we were able to identify 1097 pathogen recognition genes (PRGs) in the cultivated pepper Zunla-1 and 775 in the eggplant line Nakate-Shinkuro. The retrieved genes were analysed for their tendency to cluster, using different methods to infer the means of grouping. Orthologous relationships among clustering loci were found, and interesting reshuffling within given loci was observed for each analysed species. The information obtained was integrated into a comparative map to highlight the evolutionary dynamics in which the PRG loci were involved. Diversification of 14 selected PRG-rich regions was also explored using a DNA target-enrichment approach. A large number of gene variants were found as well as rearrangements of sequences encoding single protein domain and changes in chromosome gene order among species. Gene duplication and transposition activity have clearly influenced plant genome R-gene architecture and diversification. Our findings contribute to addressing several biological questions concerning the parallel evolution that occurred between genomes of the family Solanaceae. Moreover, the integration of different methods proved a powerful approach to reconstruct the evolutionary history in plant families and to transfer important biology findings among plant genomes.


    A Di Donato, G Andolfo, A Ferrarini, M Delledonne, M R Ercolano. Investigation of orthologous pathogen recognition gene-rich regions in solanaceous species. Genome. 2017 Oct;60(10):850-859

    PMID: 28742982

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