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1.  Genetic recombination is associated with intrinsic disorder in plant proteomes 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:772.
Intrinsically disordered proteins, found in all living organisms, are essential for basic cellular functions and complement the function of ordered proteins. It has been shown that protein disorder is linked to the G + C content of the genome. Furthermore, recent investigations have suggested that the evolutionary dynamics of the plant nucleus adds disordered segments to open reading frames alike, and these segments are not necessarily conserved among orthologous genes.
In the present work the distribution of intrinsically disordered proteins along the chromosomes of several representative plants was analyzed. The reported results support a non-random distribution of disordered proteins along the chromosomes of Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa, two model eudicot and monocot plant species, respectively. In fact, for most chromosomes positive correlations between the frequency of disordered segments of 30+ amino acids and both recombination rates and G + C content were observed.
These analyses demonstrate that the presence of disordered segments among plant proteins is associated with the rates of genetic recombination of their encoding genes. Altogether, these findings suggest that high recombination rates, as well as chromosomal rearrangements, could induce disordered segments in proteins during evolution.
PMCID: PMC3828576  PMID: 24206529
Chromosome; Evolution; Intrinsically disordered proteins; Orthologues; Plant genome; Recombination rate
2.  Protein disorder in plants: a view from the chloroplast 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:165.
The intrinsically unstructured state of some proteins, observed in all living organisms, is essential for basic cellular functions. In this field the available information from plants is limited but it has been reached a point where these proteins can be comprehensively classified on the basis of disorder, function and evolution.
Our analysis of plant genomes confirms that nuclear-encoded proteins follow the same trend than other multi-cellular eukaryotes; however, chloroplast- and mitochondria- encoded proteins conserve the patterns of Archaea and Bacteria, in agreement with their phylogenetic origin. Based on current knowledge about gene transference from the chloroplast to the nucleus, we report a strong correlation between the rate of disorder of transferred and nuclear-encoded proteins, even for polypeptides that play functional roles back in the chloroplast. We further investigate this trend by reviewing the set of chloroplast ribosomal proteins, one of the most representative transferred gene clusters, finding that the ribosomal large subunit, assembled from a majority of nuclear-encoded proteins, is clearly more unstructured than the small one, which integrates mostly plastid-encoded proteins.
Our observations suggest that the evolutionary dynamics of the plant nucleus adds disordered segments to genes alike, regardless of their origin, with the notable exception of proteins currently encoded in both genomes, probably due to functional constraints.
PMCID: PMC3460767  PMID: 22970728
Chloroplast; Intrinsically protein disorder; Plant genome; Gene transfer; Evolution
3.  Evolutionary divergence of chloroplast FAD synthetase proteins 
Flavin adenine dinucleotide synthetases (FADSs) - a group of bifunctional enzymes that carry out the dual functions of riboflavin phosphorylation to produce flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and its subsequent adenylation to generate FAD in most prokaryotes - were studied in plants in terms of sequence, structure and evolutionary history.
Using a variety of bioinformatics methods we have found that FADS enzymes localized to the chloroplasts, which we term as plant-like FADS proteins, are distributed across a variety of green plant lineages and constitute a divergent protein family clearly of cyanobacterial origin. The C-terminal module of these enzymes does not contain the typical riboflavin kinase active site sequence, while the N-terminal module is broadly conserved. These results agree with a previous work reported by Sandoval et al. in 2008. Furthermore, our observations and preliminary experimental results indicate that the C-terminus of plant-like FADS proteins may contain a catalytic activity, but different to that of their prokaryotic counterparts. In fact, homology models predict that plant-specific conserved residues constitute a distinct active site in the C-terminus.
A structure-based sequence alignment and an in-depth evolutionary survey of FADS proteins, thought to be crucial in plant metabolism, are reported, which will be essential for the correct annotation of plant genomes and further structural and functional studies. This work is a contribution to our understanding of the evolutionary history of plant-like FADS enzymes, which constitute a new family of FADS proteins whose C-terminal module might be involved in a distinct catalytic activity.
PMCID: PMC2972280  PMID: 20955574

Results 1-3 (3)