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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Analyses of the oligopeptide transporter gene family in poplar and grape

Jun Cao12, Jinling Huang3, Yongping Yang1 and Xiangyang Hu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, Kunming Institute of Botany, Institute of Tibet Plateau Research at Kunming, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650204, China

2 Institute of Life Sciences, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, 212013, China

3 Department of Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, 27858, USA

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BMC Genomics 2011, 12:465  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-465

Published: 26 September 2011

Abstract

Background

Oligopeptide transporters (OPTs) are a group of membrane-localized proteins that have a broad range of substrate transport capabilities and that are thought to contribute to many biological processes. The OPT proteins belong to a small gene family in plants, which includes about 25 members in Arabidopsis and rice. However, no comprehensive study incorporating phylogeny, chromosomal location, gene structure, expression profiling, functional divergence and selective pressure analysis has been reported thus far for Populus and Vitis.

Results

In the present study, a comprehensive analysis of the OPT gene family in Populus (P. trichocarpa) and Vitis (V. vinifera) was performed. A total of 20 and 18 full-length OPT genes have been identified in Populus and Vitis, respectively. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that these OPT genes consist of two classes that can be further subdivided into 11 groups. Gene structures are considerably conserved among the groups. The distribution of OPT genes was found to be non-random across chromosomes. A high proportion of the genes are preferentially clustered, indicating that tandem duplications may have contributed significantly to the expansion of the OPT gene family. Expression patterns based on our analyses of microarray data suggest that many OPT genes may be important in stress response and functional development of plants. Further analyses of functional divergence and adaptive evolution show that, while purifying selection may have been the main force driving the evolution of the OPTs, some of critical sites responsible for the functional divergence may have been under positive selection.

Conclusions

Overall, the data obtained from our investigation contribute to a better understanding of the complexity of the Populus and Vitis OPT gene family and of the function and evolution of the OPT gene family in higher plants.