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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(4), 1248;

Molecular Evolution and Expression Divergence of HMT Gene Family in Plants

College of Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310014, China
Institute of Crop Science, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hangzhou 310014, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 March 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
PDF [2255 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]


Homocysteine methyltransferase (HMT) converts homocysteine to methionine using S-methylmethionine (SMM) or S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) as methyl donors in organisms, playing an important role in supplying methionine for the growth and the development of plants. To better understand the functions of the HMT genes in plants, we conducted a wide evolution and expression analysis of these genes. Reconstruction of the phylogenetic relationship showed that the HMT gene family was divided into Class 1 and Class 2. In Class 1, HMTs were only found in seed plants, while Class 2 presented in all land plants, which hinted that the HMT genes might have diverged in seed plants. The analysis of gene structures and selection pressures showed that they were relatively conserved during evolution. However, type I functional divergence had been detected in the HMTs. Furthermore, the expression profiles of HMTs showed their distinct expression patterns in different tissues, in which some HMTs were widely expressed in various organs, whereas the others were highly expressed in some specific organs, such as seeds or leaves. Therefore, according to our results in the evolution, functional divergence, and expression, the HMT genes might have diverged during evolution. Further analysis in the expression patterns of AthHMTs with their methyl donors suggested that the diverged HMTs might be related to supply methionine for the development of plant seeds. View Full-Text
Keywords: homocysteine methyltransferase; HMT genes; evolution; gene expression; methyl donors homocysteine methyltransferase; HMT genes; evolution; gene expression; methyl donors

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Zhao, M.; Chen, P.; Wang, W.; Yuan, F.; Zhu, D.; Wang, Z.; Ying, X. Molecular Evolution and Expression Divergence of HMT Gene Family in Plants. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 1248.

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