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      Clusters of resistance genes in plants evolve by divergent selection and a birth-and-death process.

      Genome research

      Evolution, Molecular, genetics, Plants, Plant Diseases, Multigene Family, Models, Genetic, Genome, Plant, Genetic Variation

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          Abstract

          Classical genetic and molecular data show that genes determining disease resistance in plants are frequently clustered in the genome. Genes for resistance (R genes) to diverse pathogens cloned from several species encode proteins that have motifs in common. These motifs indicate that R genes are part of signal-transduction systems. Most of these R genes encode a leucine-rich repeat (LRR) region. Sequences encoding putative solvent-exposed residues in this region are hypervariable and have elevated ratios of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions; this suggests that they have evolved to detect variation in pathogen-derived ligands. Generation of new resistance specificities previously had been thought to involve frequent unequal crossing-over and gene conversions. However, comparisons between resistance haplotypes reveal that orthologs are more similar than paralogs implying a low rate of sequence homogenization from unequal crossing-over and gene conversion. We propose a new model adapted and expanded from one proposed for the evolution of vertebrate major histocompatibility complex and immunoglobulin gene families. Our model emphasizes divergent selection acting on arrays of solvent-exposed residues in the LRR resulting in evolution of individual R genes within a haplotype. Intergenic unequal crossing-over and gene conversions are important but are not the primary mechanisms generating variation.

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          Evolution by the birth-and-death process in multigene families of the vertebrate immune system.

          Concerted evolution is often invoked to explain the diversity and evolution of the multigene families of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes and immunoglobulin (Ig) genes. However, this hypothesis has been controversial because the member genes of these families from the same species are not necessarily more closely related to one another than to the genes from different species. To resolve this controversy, we conducted phylogenetic analyses of several multigene families of the MHC and Ig systems. The results show that the evolutionary pattern of these families is quite different from that of concerted evolution but is in agreement with the birth-and-death model of evolution in which new genes are created by repeated gene duplication and some duplicate genes are maintained in the genome for a long time but others are deleted or become nonfunctional by deleterious mutations. We found little evidence that interlocus gene conversion plays an important role in the evolution of MHC and Ig multigene families.
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            The product of the tobacco mosaic virus resistance gene N: similarity to toll and the interleukin-1 receptor.

            The products of plant disease resistance genes are postulated to recognize invading pathogens and rapidly trigger host defense responses. Here we describe isolation of the resistance gene N of tobacco that mediates resistance to the viral pathogen tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). The N gene was isolated by transposon tagging using the maize Activator transposon. A genomic DNA fragment containing the N gene conferred TMV resistance to TMV susceptible tobacco. Sequence analysis of the N gene shows that it encodes a protein of 131.4 kDa with an amino-terminal domain similar to that of the cytoplasmic domain of the Drosophila Toll protein and the interleukin-1 receptor (IL-1R) in mammals, a nucleotide-binding site (NBS), and 14 [corrected] imperfect leucine-rich repeats (LRR). The sequence similarity of N, Toll, and IL-1R suggests that N mediates rapid gene induction and TMV resistance through a Toll-IL-1-like pathway.
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              Analysis of 1.9 Mb of contiguous sequence from chromosome 4 of Arabidopsis thaliana.

              The plant Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) has become an important model species for the study of many aspects of plant biology. The relatively small size of the nuclear genome and the availability of extensive physical maps of the five chromosomes provide a feasible basis for initiating sequencing of the five chromosomes. The YAC (yeast artificial chromosome)-based physical map of chromosome 4 was used to construct a sequence-ready map of cosmid and BAC (bacterial artificial chromosome) clones covering a 1.9-megabase (Mb) contiguous region, and the sequence of this region is reported here. Analysis of the sequence revealed an average gene density of one gene every 4.8 kilobases (kb), and 54% of the predicted genes had significant similarity to known genes. Other interesting features were found, such as the sequence of a disease-resistance gene locus, the distribution of retroelements, the frequent occurrence of clustered gene families, and the sequence of several classes of genes not previously encountered in plants.
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                9847076

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