The RAD51 and DMC1 homoeologous genes of bread wheat: cloning, molecular characterization and expression analysis
1 Department of Plant and Crop sciences, School of Biosciences, Sutton Bonington Campus, University of Nottingham, Loughborough LE12 5RD, UK
2 Department of Plant Biology, 1 Shields Ave, University of California Davis, CA 95616, USA
BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:245 doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-245Published: 29 September 2010
Meiotic recombination in eukaryotes requires two homologues of the E. coli RecA proteins: Rad51 and Dmc1. Both proteins play important roles in the binding of single stranded DNA, homology search, strand invasion and strand exchange. Meiotic recombination has been well studied in Arabidopsis, rice, maize and the orthologues of RAD51 and DMC1 have been characterized. However genetic analysis of the RAD51 and DMC1 genes in bread wheat has been hampered due to the absence of complete sequence information and because of the existence of multiple copies of each gene in the hexaploid wheat genome.
In this study we have identified that TaRAD51 and TaDMC1 homoeologues are located on group 7 and group 5 chromosomes of hexaploid wheat, respectively. Comparative sequence analysis of cDNA derived from the TaRAD51 and TaDMC1 homoeologues revealed limited sequence divergence at both the nucleotide and the amino acid level. Indeed, comparisons between the predicted amino acid sequences of TaRAD51 and TaDMC1 and those of other eukaryotes reveal a high degree of evolutionary conservation. Despite the high degree of sequence conservation at the nucleotide level, genome-specific primers for cDNAs of TaRAD51 and TaDMC1 were developed to evaluate expression patterns of individual homoeologues during meiosis. QRT-PCR analysis showed that expression of the TaRAD51 and TaDMC1 cDNA homoeologues was largely restricted to meiotic tissue, with elevated levels observed during the stages of prophase I when meiotic recombination occurs. All three homoeologues of both strand-exchange proteins (TaRAD51 and TaDMC1) are expressed in wheat.
Bread wheat contains three expressed copies of each of the TaRAD51 and TaDMC1 homoeologues. While differences were detected between the three cDNA homoeologues of TaRAD51 as well as the three homoeologues of TaDMC1, it is unlikely that the predicted amino acid substitutions would have an effect on the protein structure, based on our three-dimensional structure prediction analyses. There are differences in the levels of expression of the three homoeologues of TaRAD51 and TaDMC1 as determined by QRT-PCR and if these differences are reflected at the protein level, bread wheat may be more dependent upon a particular homoeologue to achieve full fertility than all three equally.