Genome-wide identification, classification, evolutionary expansion and expression analyses of homeobox genes in rice

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Abstract

Homeobox genes play a critical role in regulating various aspects of plant growth and development. In the present study, we identified a total of 107 homeobox genes in the rice genome and grouped them into ten distinct subfamilies based upon their domain composition and phylogenetic analysis. A significantly large number of homeobox genes are located in the duplicated segments of the rice genome, which suggests that the expansion of homeobox gene family, in large part, might have occurred due to segmental duplications in rice. Furthermore, microarray analysis was performed to elucidate the expression profiles of these genes in different tissues and during various stages of vegetative and reproductive development. Several genes with predominant expression during various stages of panicle and seed development were identified. At least 37 homeobox genes were found to be differentially expressed significantly (more than two-fold; P < 0.05) under various abiotic stress conditions. The results of the study suggest a critical role of homeobox genes in reproductive development and abiotic stress signaling in rice, and will facilitate the selection of candidate genes of agronomic importance for functional validation.

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