, Volume 58, Issue 5, pp 713-725
Date: 02 Oct 2010

Comparative analysis of Argonaute gene sequences in bananas (Musa sp.) shows conserved species-specific Ago-7 PIWI domains

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The Argonaute proteins are key components in the effector complex of RNA silencing pathways which interact with small RNAs to mediate sequence specific silencing of nucleic acid targets. In plants, these proteins are involved in a diversity of biological roles such as antiviral defence, heterochromatin regulation and in the regulation of growth and development. This report describes the study of Argonaute gene sequences in bananas which are an important food staple for many developing nations. This study successfully isolated AGO7-specific PIWI domain genomic sequences from 12 diploid Musa species of three Musa sections and also from Ensete. The Musa AGO7-specific PIWI domain sequences showed the highest similarity to rice AGO7/SHOOTLESS4 with an average amino acid identity of 78%. Phylogenetic analysis of the Musa sequences revealed phylogenetic grouping that agrees fairly well with the present knowledge of the taxonomic classification of Musa species. In addition, this study estimated that there are at least 15 Argonaute genes or loci containing PIWI domain sequences in the genome of Musa acuminata ssp. malaccensis.

Chee How Teo and Han Pin Pui contributed equally to this paper.