Evolutionary dynamics of leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinases and related genes in plants: A phylogenomic approach

Tao Shi, Hongwen Huang, Michael J. Sanderson, Frans E. Tax

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Leucine-rich repeat (LRR) receptor-like kinases (RLKs), evolutionarily related LRR receptor-like proteins (RLPs) and receptor-like cytoplasmic kinases (RLCKs) have important roles in plant signaling, and their gene subfamilies are large with a complicated history of gene duplication and loss. In three pairs of closely related lineages, including Arabidopsis thaliana and A. lyrata (Arabidopsis), Lotus japonicus, and Medicago truncatula (Legumes), Oryza sativa ssp. japonica, and O. sativa ssp. indica (Rice), we find that LRR RLKs comprise the largest group of these LRR-related subfamilies, while the related RLCKs represent the smallest group. In addition, comparison of orthologs indicates a high frequency of reciprocal gene loss of the LRR RLK/LRR RLP/RLCK subfamilies. Furthermore, pairwise comparisons show that reciprocal gene loss is often associated with lineage-specific duplication(s) in the alternative lineage. Last, analysis of genes in A. thaliana involved in development revealed that most are highly conserved orthologs without species-specific duplication in the two Arabidopsis species and originated from older Arabidopsis-specific or rosid-specific duplications. We discuss potential pitfalls related to functional prediction for genes that have undergone frequent turnover (duplications, losses, and domain architecture changes), and conclude that prediction based on phylogenetic relationships will likely outperform that based on sequence similarity alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-662
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Integrative Plant Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Domain architecture evolution
  • Gene duplication and loss
  • Leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinases
  • Leucine-rich repeat receptor-like proteins
  • Receptor-like cytoplasmic kinases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science


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