Characteristics of the Lotus Japonicus Gene Repertoire Deduced from Large-Scale Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) Analysis
To perform a comprehensive analysis of genes expressed in a model legume, Lotus japonicus, a total of 74472 3′-end expressed sequence tags (EST) were generated from cDNA libraries produced from six different organs. Clustering of sequences was performed with an identity criterion of 95% for 50 bases, and a total of 20457 non-redundant sequences, 8503 contigs and 11954 singletons were generated. EST sequence coverage was analyzed by using the annotated L. japonicus genomic sequence and 1093 of the 1889 predicted protein-encoding genes (57.9%) were hit by the EST sequence(s). Gene content was compared to several plant species. Among the 8503 contigs, 471 were identified as sequences conserved only in leguminous species and these included several disease resistance-related genes. This suggested that in legumes, these genes may have evolved specifically to resist pathogen attack. The rate of gene sequence divergence was assessed by comparing similarity level and functional category based on the Gene Ontology (GO) annotation of Arabidopsis genes. This revealed that genes encoding ribosomal proteins, as well as those related to translation, photosynthesis, and cellular structure were more abundantly represented in the highly conserved class, and that genes encoding transcription factors and receptor protein kinases were abundantly represented in the less conserved class. To make the sequence information and the cDNA clones available to the research community, a Web database with useful services was created at http://www.kazusa.or.jp/en/plant/lotus/EST/.
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