Genome-wide phylogenetic and structural analysis reveals the molecular evolution of the ABA receptor gene family

Jing Fang Yang, Mo Xian Chen, Jian Hua Zhang, Ge Fei Hao*, Guang Fu Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) plays a crucial role during the plant life cycle as well as in adaptive responses to environmental stresses. The core regulatory components of ABA signaling in plants are the pyrabactin resistance1/PYR1-like/regulatory component of ABA receptor family (PYLs), which comprise the largest plant hormone receptor family known. They act as negative regulators of members of the protein phosphatase type 2C family. Due to the biological importance of PYLs, many researchers have focused on their genetic redundancy and consequent functional divergence. However, little is understood of their evolution and its impact on the generation of regulatory diversity. In this study, we identify positive selection and functional divergence in PYLs through phylogenetic reconstruction, gene structure and expression pattern analysis, positive selection analysis, functional divergence analysis, and structure comparison. We found the correlation of desensitization of PYLs under specific modifications in the molecular recognition domain with functional diversification. Hence, an interesting antagonistic co-evolutionary mechanism is proposed for the functional diversification of ABA receptor family proteins. We believe a compensatory evolutionary pathway may have occurred.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1322-1336
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number4
Early online date19 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Abscisic acid
  • evolution
  • functional divergence
  • phylogenetic
  • positive selection
  • PYR1 (Pyrabactin Resistance 1)/PYRL (PYR-Like)/RCAR (Regulatory Component of ABA Receptor)


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