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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The Arabidopsis profilin gene family. Evidence for an ancient split between constitutive and pollen-specific profilin genes.

Profilin is a ubiquitous eukaryotic protein that regulates the actin cytoskeleton and recently has been identified as a potent allergen in pollen. We examined the profilin gene family in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, and found that it contained approximately 8 to 10 members. Four distinct profilin sequences, three cDNAs, PRF1, PRF2, and PRF3, and two genomic clones, PRF1 and PRF4, were isolated and characterized. These genes encoded four distinct profilin isoforms of 131 to 134 amino acids. Northern and reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analyses demonstrated that Arabidopsis PRF1 was expressed in all major plant organs, whereas PRF4 was specifically expressed in mature pollen. Gene trees constructed from amino acid sequence data revealed the presence of two ancient, distinct profilin gene classes in plants. PRF4 was in a class with previously identified pollen-specific profilins from monocot and dicot species. PRF1, PRF2, PRF3, and a distant dicot sequence formed a separate novel class, suggesting an ancient separation of plant profilins based on regulation and perhaps function. The coevolution of plant actin and profilin classes with similar patterns of expression is discussed. The similarity of plant, fungal, protist, insect, and nematode profilins and their extreme divergence from the vertebrate profilins has striking implications for the evolution of fungal-spore- and plant-pollen-profilins as allergens.[1]


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