Detecting adaptive evolution and functional divergence in aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase (ACS) gene family
Ethylene is an essential plant gaseous hormone that controls many aspects of plant growth and development, especially the fruit ripening. It is important to know how this hormone is synthesized and how its production is regulated to understand the roles of ethylene in plant development. The aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase (ACS) gene is a rate-limiting enzyme in the ethylene biosynthesis pathway, which is encoded by a highly divergent multi-gene family in plant species. Although many ACS genes have been cloned from a wide variety of plant species previously, their origin and evolutionary process are still not clear. In this study, we conducted a phylogenetic analysis based on an updated dataset including 107 members of plant ACS genes and eight ACS-like genes from animal as well as six AATase genes. The motifs were identified and the positive selection and functional divergence in the ACS gene family were detected. The results obtained from these analyses are consistent with previous division of the ACS gene family in angiosperm, i.e., three distinct clades, and show that the duplications of three subclades (I, II and III) ACS genes have occurred after the divergence of gymnosperm and angiosperm. We conclude that the ACS genes could have experienced three times significant positive selection as they underwent expansion in land plants and gain the full-scale ethylene biosynthesis and regulatory functions, and all plant ACS genes originated from plant-ACS-like genes which come from AATase genes.
Graphical abstractFigure optionsDownload full-size imageDownload as PowerPoint slideHighlights► We conducted a maximum likelihood analysis of an updated dataset of ACS gene family. ► We identified the motifs and detected the functional diverge in the family. ► ACS genes have experienced three times significant positive selection. ► Plant ACS genes originated from plant-ACS-like genes which come from AATase genes.
Journal: Computational Biology and Chemistry - Volume 38, June 2012, Pages 10–16