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, 63 (14), 5061-77

Gene Duplication Within the Green Lineage: The Case of TEL Genes


Gene Duplication Within the Green Lineage: The Case of TEL Genes

Céline Charon et al. J Exp Bot.


Recent years have witnessed a breathtaking increase in the availability of genome sequence data, providing evidence of the highly duplicate nature of eukaryotic genomes. Plants are exceptional among eukaryotic organisms in that duplicate loci compose a large fraction of their genomes, partly because of the frequent occurrence of polyploidy (or whole-genome duplication) events. Tandem gene duplication and transposition have also contributed to the large number of duplicated genes in plant genomes. Evolutionary analyses allowed the dynamics of duplicate gene evolution to be studied and several models were proposed. It seems that, over time, many duplicated genes were lost and some of those that were retained gained new functions and/or expression patterns (neofunctionalization) or subdivided their functions and/or expression patterns between them (subfunctionalization). Recent studies have provided examples of genes that originated by duplication with successive diversification within plants. In this review, we focused on the TEL (TERMINAL EAR1-like) genes to illustrate such mechanisms. Emerged from the mei2 gene family, these TEL genes are likely to be land plant-specific. Phylogenetic analyses revealed one or two TEL copies per diploid genome. TEL gene degeneration and loss in several Angiosperm species such as in poplar and maize seem to have occurred. In Arabidopsis thaliana, whose genome experienced at least three polyploidy events followed by massive gene loss and genomic reorganization, two TEL genes were retained and two new shorter TEL-like (MCT) genes emerged. Molecular and expression analyses suggest for these genes sub- and neofunctionalization events, but confirmation will come from their functional characterization.

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