Phylogenomic synteny network analyses reveal ancestral transpositions of auxin response factor genes in plants

Bei Gao, Liuqiang Wang, Melvin Oliver, Moxian Chen*, Jianhua Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Auxin response factors (ARFs) have long been a research focus and represent a class of key regulators of plant growth and development. Integrated phylogenomic synteny network analyses were able to provide novel insights into the evolution of the ARF gene family. Results: Here, more than 3500 ARFs collected from plant genomes and transcriptomes covering major streptophyte lineages were used to reconstruct the broad-scale family phylogeny, where the early origin and diversification of ARF in charophytes was delineated. Based on the family phylogeny, we proposed a unified six-group classification system for angiosperm ARFs. Phylogenomic synteny network analyses revealed the deeply conserved genomic syntenies within each of the six ARF groups and the interlocking syntenic relationships connecting distinct groups. Recurrent duplication events, such as those that occurred in seed plants, angiosperms, core eudicots and grasses contributed to the expansion of ARF genes which facilitated functional diversification. Ancestral transposition activities in important plant families, including crucifers, legumes and grasses, were unveiled by synteny network analyses. Ancestral gene duplications along with transpositions have profound evolutionary significance which may have accelerated the functional diversification process of paralogues. Conclusions: The broad-scale family phylogeny in combination with the state-of-art phylogenomic synteny network analyses not only allowed us to infer the evolutionary trajectory of ARF genes across distinct plant lineages, but also facilitated to generate a more robust classification regime for this transcription factor family. Our study provides insights into the evolution of ARFs which will enhance our current understanding of this important transcription factor family.

Original languageEnglish
Article number70
JournalPlant Methods
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • ARF
  • Auxin
  • Gene duplication
  • Genomic synteny
  • Transcription factor


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