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The monosaccharide transporter gene family in land plants is ancient and shows differential subfamily expression and expansion across lineages

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-6-64

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Here, we utilize expressed sequence tag (EST) data to study gene duplication and expression patterns in the monosaccharide transporter (MST) gene family across the land plants. In Arabidopsis, there are 53 MST genes that form seven distinct subfamilies. We created profile hidden Markov models of each subfamily and searched EST databases representing diverse land plant lineages to address the following questions: 1) Are homologs of each Arabidopsis subfamily present in the earliest land plants? 2) Do expression patterns among subfamilies and individual genes within subfamilies differ across lineages? 3) Has gene duplication within each lineage resulted in lineage-specific expansion patterns? We also looked for correlations between relative EST database representation in Arabidopsis and similarity to orthologs in early lineages.Homologs of all seven MST subfamilies were present in land plants at least 400 million years ago. Subfamily expression levels vary across lineages with greater relative expression of the STP, ERD6-like, INT and PLT subfamilies in the vascular plants. In the large EST databases of the moss, gymnosperm, monocot and eudicot lineages, EST contig construction reveals that MST subfamilies have experienced lineage-specific expansions. Large subfamily expansions appear to be due to multiple gene duplications arising from single ancestral genes. In Arabidopsis, one or a few genes within most subfamilies have much higher EST database representation than others. Most highly represented (broadly expressed) genes in Arabidopsis have best match orthologs in early divergent lineages.The seven subfamilies of the Arabidopsis MST gene family are ancient in land plants and show differential subfamily expression and lineage-specific subfamily expansions. Patterns of gene expression in Arabidopsis and correlation of highly represented genes with best match homologs in early lineages suggests that broadly expressed genes are often highly conserved, and that most gen

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