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1.  Do potatoes and tomatoes have a single evolutionary history, and what proportion of the genome supports this history? 
Background
Phylogenies reconstructed with only one or a few independently inherited loci may be unresolved or incongruent due to taxon and gene sampling, horizontal gene transfer, or differential selection and lineage sorting at individual loci. In an effort to remedy this situation, we examined the utility of conserved orthologous set (COSII) nuclear loci to elucidate the phylogenetic relationships among 29 diploid Solanum species in the sister clades that include tomato and potato, and in Datura inoxia as a far outgroup. We screened 40 COSII markers with intron content over 60% that are mapped in different chromosomes; selected a subset of 19 by the presence of single band amplification of size mostly between 600 and 1200 bp; sequenced these 19 COSII markers, and performed phylogenetic analyses with individual and concatenated datasets. The present study attempts to provide a fully resolved phylogeny among the main clades in potato and tomato that can help to identify the appropriate markers for future studies using additional species.
Results
Among potatoes, when total evidence is invoked, one single predominant history is highlighted with complete resolution within and among the three main clades. It also supports the hypothesis of the North and Central American B-genome origin of the tuber-bearing members of Solanum sect. Petota and shows a clear division between A genomes in clades 3 and 4, and B genomes in clade 1+2. On the other hand, when a prior agreement approach is invoked other potato evolutionary histories are revealed but with less support. These alternative histories could be explained by past hybridization, or fast rates of speciation. In the case of tomato, the analyses with all sequence data completely resolved 19 of 21 clades, for the first time revealed the monophyly of five clades, and gave further support for the recent segregation of new species from the former Solanum peruvianum. Concordance analyses revealed and summarized the extensive discordance among COSII markers. Some potential reasons for discordance could be methodological, to include systematic errors due to using a wrong model of sequence evolution, coupled with long branches, or mixtures of branch lengths within COSII, or undetected paralogy or alignment bias. Other reasons could be biological processes such as hybridization or lineage sorting.
Conclusion
This study confirms and quantifies the utility of using DNA sequences from different parts of the genome in phylogenetic studies to avoid possible bias in the sampling. It shows that 11–18 loci are enough to get the dominant history in this group of Solanum, but more loci would be needed to discern the distribution of gene genealogies in more depth, and thus detect which mechanism most likely shaped the discordance.
doi:10.1186/1471-2148-9-191
PMCID: PMC3087518  PMID: 19664206
2.  Cloning, expression, crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of the XMT and DXMT N-methyltransferases from Coffea canephora (robusta) 
The genes encoding XMT and DXMT, the enzymes from Coffea canephora (robusta) that catalyse the three independent N-methyl transfer reactions in the caffeine-biosynthesis pathway, have been cloned and the proteins have been expressed in Escherichia coli. Both proteins have been crystallized in the presence of the demethylated cofactor S-adenosyl-l-cysteine (SAH) and substrate (xanthosine for XMT and theobromine for DXMT).
Caffeine is a secondary metabolite produced by a variety of plants including Coffea canephora (robusta) and there is growing evidence that caffeine is part of a chemical defence strategy protecting young leaves and seeds from potential predators. The genes encoding XMT and DXMT, the enzymes from Coffea canephora (robusta) that catalyse the three independent N-methyl transfer reactions in the caffeine-biosynthesis pathway, have been cloned and the proteins have been expressed in Escherichia coli. Both proteins have been crystallized in the presence of the demethylated cofactor S-adenosyl-l-cysteine (SAH) and substrate (xanthosine for XMT and theobromine for DXMT). The crystals are orthorhombic, with space group P212121 for XMT and C2221 for DXMT. X-ray diffraction to 2.8 Å for XMT and to 2.5 Å for DXMT have been collected on beamline ID23-1 at the ESRF.
doi:10.1107/S1744309107009268
PMCID: PMC2330209  PMID: 17401201
caffeine; SAM; N-methyltransferases
3.  Isolation and Characterization of cDNA Encoding Three Dehydrins Expressed During Coffea canephora (Robusta) Grain Development 
Annals of Botany  2006;97(5):755-765.
• Background and Aims Dehydrins, or group 2 late embryogenic abundant proteins (LEA), are hydrophilic Gly-rich proteins that are induced in vegetative tissues in response to dehydration, elevated salt, and low temperature, in addition to being expressed during the late stages of seed maturation. With the aim of characterizing and studying genes involved in osmotic stress tolerance in coffee, several full-length cDNA-encoding dehydrins (CcDH1, CcDH2 and CcDH3) and an LEA protein (CcLEA1) from Coffea canephora (robusta) were isolated and characterized.
• Methods The protein sequences deduced from the full-length cDNA were analysed to classify each dehydrin/LEA gene product and RT–PCR was used to determine the expression pattern of all four genes during pericarp and grain development, and in several other tissues of C. arabica and C. canephora. Primer-assisted genome walking was used to isolate the promoter region of the grain specific dehydrin gene (CcDH2).
• Key Results The CcDH1 and CcDH2 genes encode Y3SK2 dehydrins and the CcDH3 gene encodes an SK3 dehydrin. CcDH1 and CcDH2 are expressed during the final stages of arabica and robusta grain development, but only the CcDH1 transcripts are clearly detected in other tissues such as pericarp, leaves and flowers. CcDH3 transcripts are also found in developing arabica and robusta grain, in addition to being detected in pericarp, stem, leaves and flowers. CcLEA1 transcripts were only detected during a brief period of grain development. Finally, over 1 kb of genomic sequence potentially encoding the entire grain-specific promoter region of the CcDH2 gene was isolated and characterized.
• Conclusions cDNA sequences for three dehydrins and one LEA protein have been obtained and the expression of the associated genes has been determined in various tissues of arabica and robusta coffees. Because induction of dehydrin gene expression is associated with osmotic stress in other plants, the dehydrin sequences presented here will facilitate future studies on the induction and control of the osmotic stress response in coffee. The unique expression pattern observed for CcLEA1, and the expression of a related gene in other plants, suggests that this gene may play an important role in the development of grain endosperm tissue. Genomic DNA containing the grain-specific CcDH2 promoter region has been cloned. Sequence analysis indicates that this promoter contains several putative regulatory sites implicated in the control of both seed- and osmotic stress-specific gene expression. Thus, the CcDH2 promoter is likely to be a useful tool for basic studies on the control of gene expression during both grain maturation and osmotic stress in coffee.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcl032
PMCID: PMC2803416  PMID: 16504969
Dehydrins; late embryogenic abundant protein (LEA); seed development; Coffea; C. canephora; C. arabica; Rubiaceae

Results 1-3 (3)