Genome-wide classification and evolutionary analysis of the bHLH family of transcription factors in Arabidopsis, poplar, rice, moss, and algae

Carretero-Paulet, L., Galstyan, A., Roig-Villanova, I., Martínez-García, J. F., Bilbao-Castro, J. R. and Robertson, D. L. (2010) Genome-wide classification and evolutionary analysis of the bHLH family of transcription factors in Arabidopsis, poplar, rice, moss, and algae. Plant Physiology, 153(3), pp. 1398-1412. (doi:10.1104/pp.110.153593) (PMID:20472752)

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Abstract

Basic helix-loop-helix proteins (bHLHs) are found throughout the three eukaryotic kingdoms and constitute one of the largest families of transcription factors. A growing number of bHLH proteins have been functionally characterized in plants. However, some of these have not been previously classified. We present here an updated and comprehensive classification of the bHLHs encoded by the whole sequenced genomes of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), Populus trichocarpa, Oryza sativa, Physcomitrella patens, and five algae species. We define a plant bHLH consensus motif, which allowed the identification of novel highly diverged atypical bHLHs. Using yeast two-hybrid assays, we confirm that (1) a highly diverged bHLH has retained protein interaction activity and (2) the two most conserved positions in the consensus play an essential role in dimerization. Phylogenetic analysis permitted classification of the 638 bHLH genes identified into 32 subfamilies. Evolutionary and functional relationships within subfamilies are supported by intron patterns, predicted DNA-binding motifs, and the architecture of conserved protein motifs. Our analyses reveal the origin and evolutionary diversification of plant bHLHs through differential expansions, domain shuffling, and extensive sequence divergence. At the functional level, this would translate into different subfamilies evolving specific DNA-binding and protein interaction activities as well as differential transcriptional regulatory roles. Our results suggest a role for bHLH proteins in generating plant phenotypic diversity and provide a solid framework for further investigations into the role carried out in the transcriptional regulation of key growth and developmental processes.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robertson, Professor David
Authors: Carretero-Paulet, L., Galstyan, A., Roig-Villanova, I., Martínez-García, J. F., Bilbao-Castro, J. R., and Robertson, D. L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Plant Physiology
Publisher:American Society of Plant Biologists
ISSN:0032-0889
ISSN (Online):1532-2548
Published Online:14 May 2010

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