MAP-ping genomic organization and organ-specific expression profiles of poplar MAP kinases and MAP kinase kinases Nicole, Marie-Claude; Hamel, Louis-Philippe; Morency, Marie-Josée; Beaudoin, Nathalie; Ellis, Brian E; Séguin, Armand
Background: As in other eukaryotes, plant mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are composed of three classes of hierarchically organized protein kinases, namely MAPKKKs, MAPKKs, and MAPKs. These modules rapidly amplify and transduce extracellular signals into various appropriate intracellular responses. While extensive work has been conducted on the post-translational regulation of specific MAPKKs and MAPKs in various plant species, there has been no systematic investigation of the genomic organization and transcriptional regulation of these genes. Results Ten putative poplar MAPKK genes (PtMKKs) and 21 putative poplar MAPK genes (PtMPKs) have been identified and located within the poplar (Populus trichocarpa) genome. Analysis of exon-intron junctions and of intron phase inside the predicted coding region of each candidate gene has revealed high levels of conservation within and between phylogenetic groups. Expression profiles of all members of these two gene families were also analyzed in 17 different poplar organs, using gene-specific primers directed at the 3'-untranslated region of each candidate gene and real-time quantitative PCR. Most PtMKKs and PtMPKs were differentially expressed across this developmental series. Conclusion This analysis provides a complete survey of MAPKK and MAPK gene expression profiles in poplar, a large woody perennial plant, and thus complements the extensive expression profiling data available for the herbaceous annual Arabidopsis thaliana. The poplar genome is marked by extensive segmental and chromosomal duplications, and within both kinase families, some recently duplicated paralogous gene pairs often display markedly different patterns of expression, consistent with the rapid evolution of specialized protein functions in this highly adaptive species.
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