Lam, Kevin C. and Ibrahim, Ragai K. and Behdad, Bahareh and Dayanandan, Selvadurai
Structure, function, and evolution of plant O-methyltransferases.
- Published Version
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/G07-077
Plant O-methyltransferases (OMTs) constitute a large family of enzymes that methylate the oxygen atom of a variety of secondary metabolites including phenylpropanoids, flavonoids, and alkaloids. O-Methylation plays a key role in lignin biosynthesis, stress tolerance, and disease resistance in plants. To gain insights into the evolution of the extraordinary diversity of plant O-methyltransferases, and to develop a framework phylogenetic tree for improved prediction of the putative function of newly identified OMT-like gene sequences, we performed a comparative and phylogenetic analysis of 61 biochemically characterized plant OMT protein sequences. The resulting phylogenetic tree revealed two major groups. One of the groups included two sister clades, one comprising the caffeoyl CoA OMTs (CCoA OMTs) that methylate phenolic hydroxyl groups of hydroxycinnamoyl CoA esters, and the other containing the carboxylic acid OMTs that methylate aliphatic carboxyl groups. The other group comprised the remaining OMTs, which act on a diverse group of metabolites including hydroxycinnamic acids, flavonoids, and alkaloids. The results suggest that some OMTs may have undergone convergent evolution, while others show divergent evolution. The high number of unique conserved regions within the CCoA OMTs and carboxylic acid OMTs provide an opportunity to design oligonucleotide primers to selectively amplify and characterize similar OMT genes from many plant species.
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