Phytochelatin synthases (PCSs) play pivotal roles in the detoxification of heavy metals and metalloids in plants; however, little information on the evolution of recently duplicated PCS genes in plant species is available. Here we characterize the evolution and functional differentiation of three PCS genes from the giant reed (Arundo donax L.), a biomass/bioenergy crop with remarkable resistance to cadmium and other heavy metals. Phylogenetic reconstruction with PCS genes from fully sequenced monocotyledonous genomes indicated that the three A. donax PCSs, namely AdPCS1-3, form a monophyletic clade. The AdPCS1-3 genes were expressed at low levels in many A. donax organs and displayed different levels of cadmium-responsive expression in roots. Overexpression of AdPCS1-3 in Arabidopsis thaliana and yeast reproduced the phenotype of functional PCS genes. Mass spectrometry analyses confirmed that AdPCS1-3 are all functional enzymes, but with significant differences in the amount of the phytochelatins synthesized. Moreover, heterogeneous evolutionary rates characterized the AdPCS1-3 genes, indicative of relaxed natural selection. These results highlight the elevated functional differentiation of A. donax PCS genes from both a transcriptional and an enzymatic point of view, providing evidence of the high evolvability of PCS genes and of plant responsiveness to heavy metal stress.
|Autori:||Li, Mingai; Stragliati, Luca; Bellini, Erika; Ricci, Ada; Saba, Alessandro; Sanità di Toppi, Luigi; Varotto, Claudio|
|Titolo:||Evolution and functional differentiation of recently diverged phytochelatin synthase genes from Arundo donax L.|
|Anno del prodotto:||2019|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1093/jxb/erz266|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|