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Characterization of the calmodulin gene family in wheat: structure, chromosomal location, and evolutionary aspects

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Calmodulin is a ubiquitous transducer of calcium signals in eukaryotes. In diploid plant species, several isoforms of calmodulin have been described. Here, we report on the isolation and characterization of calmodulin cDNAs corresponding to 10 genes from hexaploid (bread) wheat (Triticum aestivum). These genes encode three distinct calmodulin isoforms; one isoform is novel in that it lacks a conserved calcium binding site. Based on their nucleotide sequences, the 10 cDNAs were classified into four subfamilies. Using subfamily-specific DNA probes, calmodulin genes were identified and the chromosomal location of each subfamily was determined by Southern analysis of selected aneuploid lines. The data suggest that hexaploid wheat possesses at least 13 calmodulin-related genes. Subfamilies 1 and 2 were both localized to the short arms of homoeologous-group 3 chromosomes; subfamily 2 is located on all three homoeologous short arms (3AS, 3BS and 3DS), whereas subfamily 1 is located only on 3AS and 3BS but not on 3DS. Further analysis revealed thatAegilops tauschii, the presumed diploid donor of the D-genome of hexaploid wheat, lacks a subfamily-1 calmodulin gene homologue, whereas diploid species related to the progenitors of the A and B genomes do contain such genes. Subfamily 3 was localized to the short arm of homoeologous chromosomes 2A, 2B and 2D, and subfamily 4 was mapped to the proximal regions of 4AS, 4BL and 4DL. These findings suggest that the calmodulin genes within each subfamily in hexaploid wheat represent homoeoallelic loci. Furthermore, they also suggest that calmodulin genes diversified into subfamilies before speciation ofTriticum andAegilops diploid species.

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Correspondence to H. Fromm.

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Communicated by H. Saedler

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Yang, T., Segal, G., Abbo, S. et al. Characterization of the calmodulin gene family in wheat: structure, chromosomal location, and evolutionary aspects. Molec. Gen. Genet. 252, 684–694 (1996).

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Key words

  • Aneuploid
  • Calcium
  • Root
  • Triticum
  • Wild wheat