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Evolutionary significance of amino acid permease transporters in 17 plants from Chlorophyta to Angiospermae

Chao Zhang, Nana Kong, Minxuan Cao, Dongdong Wang, Yue Chen, and Qin Chen

BMC Genomics

doi: 10.1186/s12864-020-6729-3

Abstract:

Background

Nitrogen is an indispensable nutrient for plant growth. It is used and transported in the form of amino acids in living organisms. Transporting amino acids to various parts of plants requires relevant transport proteins, such as amino acid permeases (AAPs), which were our focus in this study.

Results

We found that 5 AAP genes were present in Chlorophyte species and more AAP genes were predicted in Bryophyta and Lycophytes. Two main groups were defined and group I comprised 5 clades. Our phylogenetic analysis indicated that the origin of clades 2, 3, and 4 is Gymnospermae and that these clades are closely related. The members of clade 1 included Chlorophyta to Gymnospermae. Group II, as a new branch consisting of non-seed plants, is first proposed in our research. Our results also indicated that the AAP family was already present in Chlorophyta and then expanded accompanying the development of vasculature. Concurrently, the AAP family experienced multiple duplication events that promoted the generation of new functions and differentiation of sub-functions.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that the AAP gene originated in Chlorophyta, and some non-seed AAP genes clustered in one group. A second group, which contained plants of all evolutionary stages, indicated the evolution of AAPs. These new findings can be used to guide future research.