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Genome-Wide Identification of GRAS Genes in Brachypodium distachyon and Functional Characterization of BdSLR1 and BdSLRL1

Xin Niu, Shoukun Chen, Jiawei Li, Yue Liu, Wanquan Ji, Haifeng Li.

BMC Genomics

DOI: 10.1186/s12864-019-5985-6

 

 

Abstract: Background: As one of the most important transcription factor families, GRAS proteins are involved in numerous regulatory processes, especially plant growth and development. However, they have not been systematically analyzed in Brachypodium distachyon, a new model grass.

Results: In this study, 48 BdGRAS genes were identified. Duplicated genes account for 41.7% of them and contribute to the expansion of this gene family. 33, 39, 35 and 35 BdGRAS genes were identified by synteny with their orthologs in rice, sorghum, maize and wheat genome, respectively, indicating close relationships among these species. Based on their phylogenic relationships to GRAS genes in rice and maize, BdGRAS genes can be divided into ten subfamilies in which members of the same subfamily showed similar protein sequences, conserved motifs and gene structures, suggesting possible conserved functions. Although expression variation is high, some BdGRAS genes are tissue-specific, phytohormones- or abiotic stresses-responsive, and they may play key roles in development, signal transduction pathways and stress responses. In addition, DELLA genes BdSLR1 and BdSLRL1 were functionally characterized to play a role in plant growth via the GA signal pathway, consistent with GO annotations and KEGG pathway analyses.

Conclusions: Systematic analyses of BdGRAS genes indicated that members of the same subfamily may play similar roles. This was supported by the conserved functions of BdSLR1 and BdSLRL1 in GA pathway. These results laid a foundation for further functional elucidation of BdGRAS genes, especially, BdSLR1 and BdSLRL1.