Background: In Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh and Oryza sativa L., a large number of genes encode proteins of unknown functions, whose characterization still remains one of the major challenges. With an aim to characterize these unknown proteins having defined features (PDFs) in plants, we have chosen to work on proteins having a cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) domain. CBS domain as such has no defined function(s) but plays a regulatory role for many enzymes and thus helps in maintaining the intracellular redox balance. Its function as sensor of cellular energy has also been widely suggested.
Results: Our analysis has identified 34 CBS domain containing proteins (CDCPs) in Arabidopsis and 59 in Oryza. In most of these proteins, CBS domain coexists with other functional domain(s), which may indicate towards their probable functions. In order to investigate the role(s) of these CDCPs, we have carried out their detailed analysis in whole genomes of Arabidopsis and Oryza, including their classification, nomenclature, sequence analysis, domain analysis, chromosomal locations, phylogenetic relationships and their expression patterns using public databases (MPSS database and microarray data). We have found that the transcript levels of some members of this family are altered in response to various stresses such as salinity, drought, cold, high temperature, UV, wounding and genotoxic stress, in both root and shoot tissues. This data would be helpful in exploring the so far obscure functions of CBS domain and CBS domain-containing proteins in plant stress responses.
Conclusion: We have identified, classified and suggested the nomenclature of CDCPs in Arabidopsis and Oryza. A comprehensive analysis of expression patterns for CDCPs using the already existing transcriptome profiles and MPSS database reveals that a few CDCPs may have an important role in stress response/tolerance and development in plants, which needs to be validated further through functional genomics.