Soybean lipoxygenases (Lxs) play important roles in plant resistance and in conferring the distinct bean flavor. Lxs comprise a multi-gene family that includes GmLx1, GmLx2 and GmLx3, and many of these genes have been characterized. We were interested in investigating the relationship between the soybean lipoxygenase isozymes from an evolutionary perspective, since soybean has undergone two rounds of polyploidy. Here we report the tetrad genome structure of soybean Lx regions produced by ancient and recent polyploidy. Also, comparative genomics with Medicago truncatula was performed to estimate Lxs in the common ancestor of soybean and Medicago.
Two Lx regions in Medicago truncatula showing synteny with soybean were analyzed. Differential evolutionary rates between soybean and Medicago were observed and the median Ks values of Mt-Mt, Gm-Mt, and Gm-Gm paralogs were determined to be 0.75, 0.62, and 0.46, respectively. Thus the comparison of Gm-Mt paralogs (Ks = 0.62) and Gm-Mt orthologs (Ks = 0.45) supports the ancient duplication of Lx regions in the common ancestor prior to the Medicago-Glycine split. After speciation, no Lx regions generated by another polyploidy were identified in Medicago. Instead tandem duplication of Lx genes was observed. On the other hand, a lineage-specific duplication occurred in soybean resulting in two pairs of Lx regions. Each pair of soybean regions was co-orthologous to one Lx region in Medicago. A total of 34 Lx genes (15 MtLxs and 19 GmLxs) were divided into two groups by phylogenetic analysis. Our study shows that the Lx gene family evolved from two distinct Lx genes in the most recent common ancestor.
This study analyzed two pairs of Lx regions generated by two rounds of polyploidy in soybean. Each pair of soybean homeologous regions is co-orthologous to one region of Medicago, demonstrating the quartet structure of the soybean genome. Differential evolutionary rates between soybean and Medicago were observed; thus optimized rates of Ks per year should be applied for accurate estimation of coalescence times to each case of comparison: soybean-soybean, soybean-Medicago, or Medicago-Medicago. In conclusion, the soybean Lx gene family expanded by ancient polyploidy prior to taxon divergence, followed by a soybean- specific duplication and tandem duplications, respectively.