Genome-wide identification of rice class I metallothionein gene: tissue expression patterns and induction in response to heavy metal stress
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- Gautam, N., Verma, P.K., Verma, S. et al. Funct Integr Genomics (2012) 12: 635. doi:10.1007/s10142-012-0297-9
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Metallothioneins (MTs) are members of a family of cysteine-rich low molecular weight polypeptides which play an important role in heavy metal detoxification and homeostasis of intracellular metal ions in plant. Though MT genes from some selected plants have been characterized with respect to their protein sequences, kinetic properties and tissue-specific localization, no detailed study has been carried out in rice. Here, we present genome-wide identification, structural and expression analyses of rice MT gene family. Our analysis suggests presence of 11 class I MT genes in rice genome (Release 7 of the MSU Rice Genome Annotation Project) which are differentially expressed during growth and development, in various tissues and during biotic and abiotic stresses. Our analyses suggest that class I MT proteins in rice differ in tissue localization as well as in heavy metal coordination chemistry. We also suggest that some MTs have a predominant role in detoxification of As (V) in arsenic-tolerant rice cultivars. Our analysis suggests that apart from transcriptional regulation, post-transcriptional alternative splicing in some members of this family takes place during growth and development, in various tissues and during biotic and abiotic stresses.