Isolation, phylogeny and evolution of the SymRK gene in the legume genus Lupinus L

Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2011 Jul;60(1):49-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2011.04.017. Epub 2011 Apr 30.


SymRK is one of the key genes involved in initial steps of legume symbiotic association with fungi (mycorrhization) and nitrogen-fixing bacteria (nodulation). A large portion of the sequence encoding the extracellular domain of SYMRK was obtained for 38 lupine accessions and 2 outgroups in order to characterize this region, to evaluate its phylogenetic utility, and to examine whether its molecular evolutionary pattern is correlated with rhizobial diversity and specificity in Lupinus. The data suggested that, in Lupinus, SymRK is a single copy gene that shows good phylogenetic potential. Accordingly, SymRK provided additional support to previous molecular phylogenies, and shed additional light on relationships within the Old World group of Lupinus, especially among the African species. Similar to results of other studies, analyses of SymRK sequences were unable to resolve placement of the Florida unifoliolate lineage, whose relationship was weakly supported to either the Old or the New World lupines. Our data are consistent with strong purifying selection operating on SymRK in Lupinus, preserving rather than diversifying its function. Thus, although SymRK was demonstrated to be a vital gene in the early stages of the root-bacterial symbiotic associations, no evidence from present analyses indicate that this gene is involved in changes in rhizobial specificity in Lupinus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Exons
  • Gene Order
  • Genes, Plant / genetics*
  • Introns
  • Lupinus / classification*
  • Lupinus / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny*
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Symbiosis / genetics

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY935267