Open Access Open Badges Research article

Paleo-evolutionary plasticity of plant disease resistance genes

Rongzhi Zhang12, Florent Murat1, Caroline Pont1, Thierry Langin1 and Jerome Salse1*

Author Affiliations

1 INRA/UBP UMR 1095 GDEC ‘Génétique, Diversité et Ecophysiologie des Céréales’, 5 chemin de Beaulieu, 63100 Clermont-Ferrand, France

2 Institute of Crop Sciences, Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Jinan 250100, China

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:187  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-187

Published: 12 March 2014



The recent access to a large set of genome sequences, combined with a robust evolutionary scenario of modern monocot (i.e. grasses) and eudicot (i.e. rosids) species from their founder ancestors, offered the opportunity to gain insights into disease resistance genes (R-genes) evolutionary plasticity.


We unravel in the current article (i) a R-genes repertoire consisting in 7883 for monocots and 15758 for eudicots, (ii) a contrasted R-genes conservation with 23.8% for monocots and 6.6% for dicots, (iii) a minimal ancestral founder pool of 384 R-genes for the monocots and 150 R-genes for the eudicots, (iv) a general pattern of organization in clusters accounting for more than 60% of mapped R-genes, (v) a biased deletion of ancestral duplicated R-genes between paralogous blocks possibly compensated by clusterization, (vi) a bias in R-genes clusterization where Leucine-Rich Repeats act as a ‘glue’ for domain association, (vii) a R-genes/miRNAs interome enriched toward duplicated R-genes.


Together, our data may suggest that R-genes family plasticity operated during plant evolution (i) at the structural level through massive duplicates loss counterbalanced by massive clusterization following polyploidization; as well as at (ii) the regulation level through microRNA/R-gene interactions acting as a possible source of functional diploidization of structurally retained R-genes duplicates. Such evolutionary shuffling events leaded to CNVs (i.e. Copy Number Variation) and PAVs (i.e. Presence Absence Variation) between related species operating in the decay of R-genes colinearity between plant species.

R-genes; Duplication; Plasticity; Evolution