Research Article

Genome-wide analysis of the GRAS gene family in physic nut (Jatropha curcas L.)

Published: December 29, 2015
Genet. Mol. Res. 14 (4) : 19211-19224 DOI: 10.4238/2015.December.29.31

Abstract

GRAS proteins play vital roles in plant growth and development. Physic nut (Jatropha curcas L.) was found to have a total of 48 GRAS family members (JcGRAS), 15 more than those found in Arabidopsis. The JcGRAS genes were divided into 12 subfamilies or 15 ancient monophyletic lineages based on the phylogenetic analysis of GRAS proteins from both flowering and lower plants. The functions of GRAS genes in 9 subfamilies have been reported previously for several plants, while the genes in the remaining 3 subfamilies were of unknown function; we named the latter families U1 to U3. No member of U3 subfamily is present in Arabidopsis and Poaceae species according to public genome sequence data. In comparison with the number of GRAS genes in Arabidopsis, more were detected in physic nut, resulting from the retention of many ancient GRAS subfamilies and the formation of tandem repeats during evolution. No evidence of recent duplication among JcGRAS genes was observed in physic nut. Based on digital gene expression data, 21 of the 48 genes exhibited differential expression in four tissues analyzed. Two members of subfamily U3 were expressed only in buds and flowers, implying that they may play specific roles. Our results provide valuable resources for future studies on the functions of GRAS proteins in physic nut.

GRAS proteins play vital roles in plant growth and development. Physic nut (Jatropha curcas L.) was found to have a total of 48 GRAS family members (JcGRAS), 15 more than those found in Arabidopsis. The JcGRAS genes were divided into 12 subfamilies or 15 ancient monophyletic lineages based on the phylogenetic analysis of GRAS proteins from both flowering and lower plants. The functions of GRAS genes in 9 subfamilies have been reported previously for several plants, while the genes in the remaining 3 subfamilies were of unknown function; we named the latter families U1 to U3. No member of U3 subfamily is present in Arabidopsis and Poaceae species according to public genome sequence data. In comparison with the number of GRAS genes in Arabidopsis, more were detected in physic nut, resulting from the retention of many ancient GRAS subfamilies and the formation of tandem repeats during evolution. No evidence of recent duplication among JcGRAS genes was observed in physic nut. Based on digital gene expression data, 21 of the 48 genes exhibited differential expression in four tissues analyzed. Two members of subfamily U3 were expressed only in buds and flowers, implying that they may play specific roles. Our results provide valuable resources for future studies on the functions of GRAS proteins in physic nut.