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1.  Mechanisms of haplotype divergence at the RGA08 nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat gene locus in wild banana (Musa balbisiana) 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:149.
Background
Comparative sequence analysis of complex loci such as resistance gene analog clusters allows estimating the degree of sequence conservation and mechanisms of divergence at the intraspecies level. In banana (Musa sp.), two diploid wild species Musa acuminata (A genome) and Musa balbisiana (B genome) contribute to the polyploid genome of many cultivars. The M. balbisiana species is associated with vigour and tolerance to pests and disease and little is known on the genome structure and haplotype diversity within this species. Here, we compare two genomic sequences of 253 and 223 kb corresponding to two haplotypes of the RGA08 resistance gene analog locus in M. balbisiana "Pisang Klutuk Wulung" (PKW).
Results
Sequence comparison revealed two regions of contrasting features. The first is a highly colinear gene-rich region where the two haplotypes diverge only by single nucleotide polymorphisms and two repetitive element insertions. The second corresponds to a large cluster of RGA08 genes, with 13 and 18 predicted RGA genes and pseudogenes spread over 131 and 152 kb respectively on each haplotype. The RGA08 cluster is enriched in repetitive element insertions, in duplicated non-coding intergenic sequences including low complexity regions and shows structural variations between haplotypes. Although some allelic relationships are retained, a large diversity of RGA08 genes occurs in this single M. balbisiana genotype, with several RGA08 paralogs specific to each haplotype. The RGA08 gene family has evolved by mechanisms of unequal recombination, intragenic sequence exchange and diversifying selection. An unequal recombination event taking place between duplicated non-coding intergenic sequences resulted in a different RGA08 gene content between haplotypes pointing out the role of such duplicated regions in the evolution of RGA clusters. Based on the synonymous substitution rate in coding sequences, we estimated a 1 million year divergence time for these M. balbisiana haplotypes.
Conclusions
A large RGA08 gene cluster identified in wild banana corresponds to a highly variable genomic region between haplotypes surrounded by conserved flanking regions. High level of sequence identity (70 to 99%) of the genic and intergenic regions suggests a recent and rapid evolution of this cluster in M. balbisiana.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-149
PMCID: PMC3017797  PMID: 20637079
2.  A saturated SSR/DArT linkage map of Musa acuminata addressing genome rearrangements among bananas 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:65.
Background
The genus Musa is a large species complex which includes cultivars at diploid and triploid levels. These sterile and vegetatively propagated cultivars are based on the A genome from Musa acuminata, exclusively for sweet bananas such as Cavendish, or associated with the B genome (Musa balbisiana) in cooking bananas such as Plantain varieties. In M. acuminata cultivars, structural heterozygosity is thought to be one of the main causes of sterility, which is essential for obtaining seedless fruits but hampers breeding. Only partial genetic maps are presently available due to chromosomal rearrangements within the parents of the mapping populations. This causes large segregation distortions inducing pseudo-linkages and difficulties in ordering markers in the linkage groups. The present study aims at producing a saturated linkage map of M. acuminata, taking into account hypotheses on the structural heterozygosity of the parents.
Results
An F1 progeny of 180 individuals was obtained from a cross between two genetically distant accessions of M. acuminata, 'Borneo' and 'Pisang Lilin' (P. Lilin). Based on the gametic recombination of each parent, two parental maps composed of SSR and DArT markers were established. A significant proportion of the markers (21.7%) deviated (p < 0.05) from the expected Mendelian ratios. These skewed markers were distributed in different linkage groups for each parent. To solve some complex ordering of the markers on linkage groups, we associated tools such as tree-like graphic representations, recombination frequency statistics and cytogenetical studies to identify structural rearrangements and build parsimonious linkage group order. An illustration of such an approach is given for the P. Lilin parent.
Conclusions
We propose a synthetic map with 11 linkage groups containing 489 markers (167 SSRs and 322 DArTs) covering 1197 cM. This first saturated map is proposed as a "reference Musa map" for further analyses. We also propose two complete parental maps with interpretations of structural rearrangements localized on the linkage groups. The structural heterozygosity in P. Lilin is hypothesized to result from a duplication likely accompanied by an inversion on another chromosome. This paper also illustrates a methodological approach, transferable to other species, to investigate the mapping of structural rearrangements and determine their consequences on marker segregation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-65
PMCID: PMC2923539  PMID: 20388207
3.  Analysis of non-TIR NBS-LRR resistance gene analogs in Musa acuminata Colla: Isolation, RFLP marker development, and physical mapping 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:15.
Background
Many commercial banana varieties lack sources of resistance to pests and diseases, as a consequence of sterility and narrow genetic background. Fertile wild relatives, by contrast, possess greater variability and represent potential sources of disease resistance genes (R-genes). The largest known family of plant R-genes encode proteins with nucleotide-binding site (NBS) and C-terminal leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domains. Conserved motifs in such genes in diverse plant species offer a means for isolation of candidate genes in banana which may be involved in plant defence.
Results
A computational strategy was developed for unbiased conserved motif discovery in NBS and LRR domains in R-genes and homologues in monocotyledonous plant species. Degenerate PCR primers targeting conserved motifs were tested on the wild cultivar Musa acuminata subsp. burmannicoides, var. Calcutta 4, which is resistant to a number of fungal pathogens and nematodes. One hundred and seventy four resistance gene analogs (RGAs) were amplified and assembled into 52 contiguous sequences. Motifs present were typical of the non-TIR NBS-LRR RGA subfamily. A phylogenetic analysis of deduced amino-acid sequences for 33 RGAs with contiguous open reading frames (ORFs), together with RGAs from Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa, grouped most Musa RGAs within monocotyledon-specific clades. RFLP-RGA markers were developed, with 12 displaying distinct polymorphisms in parentals and F1 progeny of a diploid M. acuminata mapping population. Eighty eight BAC clones were identified in M. acuminata Calcutta 4, M. acuminata Grande Naine, and M. balbisiana Pisang Klutuk Wulung BAC libraries when hybridized to two RGA probes. Multiple copy RGAs were common within BAC clones, potentially representing variation reservoirs for evolution of new R-gene specificities.
Conclusion
This is the first large scale analysis of NBS-LRR RGAs in M. acuminata Calcutta 4. Contig sequences were deposited in GenBank and assigned numbers ER935972 – ER936023. RGA sequences and isolated BACs are a valuable resource for R-gene discovery, and in future applications will provide insight into the organization and evolution of NBS-LRR R-genes in the Musa A and B genome. The developed RFLP-RGA markers are applicable for genetic map development and marker assisted selection for defined traits such as pest and disease resistance.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-8-15
PMCID: PMC2262081  PMID: 18234103

Results 1-3 (3)