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Open AccessArticle

Genome-Wide Profiling and Phylogenetic Analysis of the SWEET Sugar Transporter Gene Family in Walnut and Their Lack of Responsiveness to Xanthomonas arboricola pv. juglandis Infection

1
Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
2
College of Life Sciences, China West Normal University, Nanchong 637000, China
3
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie Alimentari Forestali, Università di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze Ed. 4, 90128 Palermo, Italy
4
Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Instituto de Ciências Exatas e Biológicas, Núcleo de Pesquisas em Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Ouro Preto 35400-000, Brazil
5
Department of Forestry, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
6
Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture and Food Science, Zhejiang A&F University, Lin’an, Hangzhou 311300, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1251; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041251
Received: 7 January 2020 / Revised: 10 February 2020 / Accepted: 10 February 2020 / Published: 13 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
Following photosynthesis, sucrose is translocated to sink organs, where it provides the primary source of carbon and energy to sustain plant growth and development. Sugar transporters from the SWEET (sugar will eventually be exported transporter) family are rate-limiting factors that mediate sucrose transport across concentration gradients, sustain yields, and participate in reproductive development, plant senescence, stress responses, as well as support plant–pathogen interaction, the focus of this study. We identified 25 SWEET genes in the walnut genome and distinguished each by its individual gene structure and pattern of expression in different walnut tissues. Their chromosomal locations, cis-acting motifs within their 5′ regulatory elements, and phylogenetic relationship patterns provided the first comprehensive analysis of the SWEET gene family of sugar transporters in walnut. This family is divided into four clades, the analysis of which suggests duplication and expansion of the SWEET gene family in Juglans regia. In addition, tissue-specific gene expression signatures suggest diverse possible functions for JrSWEET genes. Although these are commonly used by pathogens to harness sugar products from their plant hosts, little was known about their role during Xanthomonas arboricola pv. juglandis (Xaj) infection. We monitored the expression profiles of the JrSWEET genes in different tissues of “Chandler” walnuts when challenged with pathogen Xaj417 and concluded that SWEET-mediated sugar translocation from the host is not a trigger for walnut blight disease development. This may be directly related to the absence of type III secretion system-dependent transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs) in Xaj417, which suggests different strategies are employed by this pathogen to promote susceptibility to this major aboveground disease of walnuts. View Full-Text
Keywords: SWEET sugar transporters; gene family; phylogeny; TAL effector; gene expression; walnut blight; Xanthomonas SWEET sugar transporters; gene family; phylogeny; TAL effector; gene expression; walnut blight; Xanthomonas
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Jiang, S.; Balan, B.; Assis, R.A.B.; Sagawa, C.H.D.; Wan, X.; Han, S.; Wang, L.; Zhang, L.; Zaini, P.A.; Walawage, S.L.; Jacobson, A.; Lee, S.H.; Moreira, L.M.; Leslie, C.A.; Dandekar, A.M. Genome-Wide Profiling and Phylogenetic Analysis of the SWEET Sugar Transporter Gene Family in Walnut and Their Lack of Responsiveness to Xanthomonas arboricola pv. juglandis Infection. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 1251.

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