Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 122, Issue 4, pp 705–722 | Cite as

Contrasted patterns of selection since maize domestication on duplicated genes encoding a starch pathway enzyme

  • J. Corbi
  • M. Debieu
  • A. Rousselet
  • P. Montalent
  • M. Le Guilloux
  • D. Manicacci
  • M. I. Tenaillon
Original Paper


Maize domestication from teosinte (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis) was accompanied by an increase of kernel size in landraces. Subsequent breeding has led to a diversification of kernel size and starch content among major groups of inbred lines. We aim at investigating the effect of domestication on duplicated genes encoding a key enzyme of the starch pathway, the ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase). Three pairs of paralogs encode the AGPase small (SSU) and large (LSU) subunits mainly expressed in the endosperm, the embryo and the leaf. We first validated the putative sequence of LSUleaf through a comparative expression assay of the six genes. Second, we investigated the patterns of molecular evolution on a 2 kb coding region homologous among the six genes in three panels: teosintes, landraces, and inbred lines. We corrected for demographic effects by relying on empirical distributions built from 580 previously sequenced ESTs. We found contrasted patterns of selection among duplicates: three genes exhibit patterns of directional selection during domestication (SSUend, LSUemb) or breeding (LSUleaf), two exhibit patterns consistent with diversifying (SSUleaf) and balancing selection (SSUemb) accompanying maize breeding. While patterns of linkage disequilibrium did not reveal sign of coevolution between genes expressed in the same organ, we detected an excess of non-synonymous substitutions in the small subunit functional domains highlighting their role in AGPase evolution. Our results offer a different picture on AGPase evolution than the one depicted at the Angiosperm level and reveal how genetic redundancy can provide flexibility in the response to selection.


Inbred Line Starch Content Neutrality Test Paralogous Gene Common Sample 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Small subunit


Large subunit



We would like to thank Catherine Damerval, Alain Charcosset and Johann Joets for helpful discussions throughout this study. We are very grateful to Brandon Gaut for providing comments on the manuscript and carefully checking the language. Guillaume Achaz and Frantz Depaulis have brought insightful suggestions on the data analyses. We are thankful to Jean-Louis Prioul for his physiological view of maize AGPase evolution. Pierre Garrabos helped with data collection, Céline Ridel and Matthieu Falque performed the mapping. We are grateful to Létizia Camus-Kulandaivelu and Brigitte Gouesnard for providing accessions. We also would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers who brought insightful comments to the manuscript. This work was partly supported by a grant from the Bureau des Ressources Génétiques (project no. 8 2005–2007) to DM and a grant from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR-05-JCJC-0067-01) to MIT. JC was financed by a PhD fellowship from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

Supplementary material

122_2010_1480_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (24 kb)
Semi-quantitative RT-PCR conditions (PDF 23 kb)
122_2010_1480_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (106 kb)
Material description (PDF 105 kb)
122_2010_1480_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (52 kb)
Protocols used for PCR amplification (PDF 52 kb)
122_2010_1480_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (34 kb)
Semi-quantitative RT-PCR profiles of SSUend (a) and SSUemb (b) paralogous genes in 11 organs (PDF 34 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Corbi
    • 1
  • M. Debieu
    • 2
    • 3
  • A. Rousselet
    • 4
  • P. Montalent
    • 4
  • M. Le Guilloux
    • 1
  • D. Manicacci
    • 2
  • M. I. Tenaillon
    • 1
  1. 1.CNRS, UMR 0320/UMR 8120 Génétique VégétaleGif sur YvetteFrance
  2. 2.Université Paris Sud, UMR 0320/UMR 8120 Génétique VégétaleGif sur YvetteFrance
  3. 3.Department of Plant Breeding and GeneticsMax-Planck Institute for Plant Breeding ResearchCologneGermany
  4. 4.INRA, UMR 0320/UMR 8120 Génétique VégétaleGif sur YvetteFrance

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