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Identification, characterization, and expression of the SWEET gene family in Phalaenopsis equestris and Dendrobium officinale

Wang, T., Song, Z., Meng, W.L., Li, L.B.
Biologia plantarum 2018 v.62 no.1 pp. 24-32
Arabidopsis, Dendrobium officinale, Phalaenopsis, abiotic stress, amino acid sequences, bioinformatics, flowers, gene expression, gene expression regulation, genes, growth and development, leaves, metabolites, nucleotide sequences, nutrients, phosphorylation, phylogeny, rice, sequence alignment, serine, sugars, temperature, tissues, transport proteins
Sugars are important molecules that function not only as primary metabolites, but also as nutrients and signal molecules in plants. The sugar transport protein genes family SWEET has been recently identified. The availability of the Dendrobium officinale and Phalaenopsis equestris genome sequences offered the opportunity to study the SWEET gene family in this two orchid species. We identified 22 and 16 putative SWEET genes, respectively, in the genomes of D. officinale and P. equestris using comprehensive bioinformatics analysis. Based on phylogenetic comparisons with SWEET proteins from Arabidopsis and rice, the DoSWEET and PeSWEET proteins could be divided into four clades; among these, clade II specifically lacked PeSWEETs and clade IV specifically lacked DoSWEETs, and there were orthologs present between D. officinale and P. equestris. Protein sequence alignments suggest that there is a predicted serine phosphorylation site in each of the highly conserved MtN3/saliva domain regions. Gene expression analysis in four tissues showed that three PeSWEET genes were most highly expressed in the flower, leaf, stem, and root, suggesting that these genes might play important roles in growth and development in P. equestris. Analysis of gene expression in different floral organs showed that five PeSWEET genes were highly expressed in the column (gynostemium), implying their possible involvement in reproductive development in this species. The expression patterns of seven PeSWEETs in response to different abiotic stresses showed that three genes were upregulated significantly in response to high temperature and two genes were differently expressed at low temperature. The results of this study lay the foundation for further functional analysis of SWEET genes in orchids.