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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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          Most cited references 84

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          Current Status of the Gene-For-Gene Concept

           H H Flor (1971)
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            Pattern of nucleotide substitution at major histocompatibility complex class I loci reveals overdominant selection.

            The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) loci are known to be highly polymorphic in humans, mice and certain other mammals, with heterozygosity as high as 80-90% (ref. 1). Four different hypotheses have been proposed to explain this high degree of polymorphism: (1) a high mutation rate, (2) gene conversion or interlocus genetic exchange, (3) over dominant selection and (4) frequency-dependent selection. In an attempt to establish which of these hypotheses is correct, we examined the pattern of nucleotide substitution between polymorphic alleles in the region of the antigen recognition site (ARS) and other regions of human and mouse class I MHC genes. The results indicate that in ARS the rate of nonsynonymous (amino acid altering) substitution is significantly higher than that of synonymous substitution in both humans and mice, whereas in other regions the reverse is true. This observation, together with a theoretical study and other considerations, supports the hypothesis of overdominant selection (heterozygote advantage).
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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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                Journal
                9847076

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