Nucleotide diversity and molecular evolution of the PSY1 gene in Zea mays compared to some other grass species

Abstract

Phytoene synthase (PSY), which is encoded by the phytoene synthase 1 (PSY1) gene, is the first rate-limiting enzyme in the plant carotenoid biosynthetic pathway. In order to examine the genetic diversity and evolution pattern of PSY1 within the Andropogoneae, sequences of 76 accessions from 5 species (maize, teosinte, tripsacum, coix, and sorghum) of the Andropogoneae were tested, along with 4 accessions of rice (Oryza sativa L.) included as outliers. Both the number and the order of exons and introns were relatively conserved across the species tested. Three domains were identified in the coding sequence, including signal peptide (SP), PSY, and highly conserved squalene synthase (SQS) domain. Although no positive selection signal was detected at an overall coding level among all species tested, the SP domain and the region upstream of the SQS–PSY domain appear to have undergone rapid evolution, as evidenced by a high d N/d S ratio (>1.0). At the nucleotide level, positive selection and balancing selection were detected only among the yellow maize germplasm and the white maize germplasm, respectively. The phylogenetic tree based on full-length sequences of PSY1-like regions supported the monophyletic theory of the Andropogoneae and the closest relationship between Zea and Tripsacum among the Andropogoneae. Coix, which was theorized to have a closer relationship with maize due to similarities in morphology and chromosome number, has been shown in this study to have diverged relatively early from the other Andropogoneae, including maize.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30821140352) and the specific project grants from the Harvest Plus Program and targeted funds from the World Bank and European Commission as well as from USAID, UK DFID and Canadian CIDA to International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. Authors also greatly appreciate both anonymous reviewers for their invaluable comments.

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Correspondence to Jian-Sheng Li.

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Z. Fu and J. Yan contributed equally to this work.

Communicated by J. Yu.

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Fu, Z., Yan, J., Zheng, Y. et al. Nucleotide diversity and molecular evolution of the PSY1 gene in Zea mays compared to some other grass species. Theor Appl Genet 120, 709–720 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-009-1188-x

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Keywords

  • Carotenoid
  • Sorghum
  • Maize Line
  • Linkage Disequilibrium Decay
  • Carotenoid Accumulation