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Homology-based analysis of the GRAS gene family in tobacco

Author(s): Y.Q. Chen, S.S. Tai, D.W. Wang, A.M. Ding, T.T. Sun, W.F. Wang and Y.H. Sun

Members of the GRAS gene family are important transcriptional regulators. In this study, 21 GRAS genes were identified from tobacco, and were classified into eight subgroups according to the classification of Arabidopsis thaliana. Here, we provide a preliminary overview of this gene family in tobacco, describing the gene structure, gene expression, protein motif organization, phylogenetic analysis, and comparative analysis in tobacco, Arabidopsis, and rice. Using the sequences of 21 GRAS genes in Arabidopsis to search against the American tobacco genome database, 21 homologous GRAS genes in tobacco were identified. Sequence analysis indicates that these GRAS proteins have five conserved domains, which is consistent with their counterparts in other plants. Phylogenetic analyses divided the GRAS gene family into eight subgroups, each of which has distinct conserved domains and biological functions. Furthermore, the expression pattern of these 21 GRAS genes reveals that most are expressed in all six tissues studied; however, some have tissue specificity. Taken together, this comprehensive analysis will provide a rich resource to assist in the study of GRAS protein functions in tobacco.