The sugar transporter (ST) plays an important role in plant growth, development and fruit quality. In this study, a total of 75 ST genes were identified in the pear (Pyrus bretschneideri Rehd) genome based on systematic analysis. Furthermore, all ST genes identified were grouped into eight subfamilies according to conserved domains and phylogenetic analysis. Analysis of cis-regulatory element sequences of all ST genes identified the MYBCOREATCYCB1 promoter in sucrose transporter (SUT) and monosaccharide transporter (MST) genes of pear, while in grape it is exclusively found in SUT subfamily members, indicating divergent transcriptional regulation in different species. Gene duplication event analysis indicated that whole-genome duplication (WGD) and segmental duplication play key roles in ST gene amplification, followed by tandem duplication. Estimation of positive selection at codon sites of ST paralog pairs indicated that all plastidic glucose translocator (pGlcT) subfamily members have evolved under positive selection. In addition, the evolutionary history of ST gene duplications indicated that the ST genes have experienced significant expansion in the whole ST gene family after the second WGD, especially after apple and pear divergence. According to the global RNA sequencing results of pear fruit development, gene expression profiling showed the expression of 53 STs. Combined with quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis, two polyol/monosaccharide transporter (PLT) and three tonoplast monosaccharide transporter (tMT) members were identified as candidate genes, which may play important roles in sugar accumulation during pear fruit development and ripening. Identification of highly expressed STs in fruit is important for finding novel genes contributing to enhanced levels of sugar content in pear fruit.
Keywords: Genome duplication events; Pear (Pyrus bretschneideri Rehd); Positive selection; Sugar transporter gene family.
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