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The origin and evolution of the ALOG proteins, members of a plant-specific transcription factor family, in land plants

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The Arabidopsis LSH1 and Oryza G1 (ALOG) protein is a family of plant-specific transcription factors that regulate reproductive growth in angiosperms. Despite their importance in plant development, little research has been conducted on ALOG proteins in basal land plants and the processes involved in their evolution remain largely unknown. Here, we studied the molecular evolution of ALOG family proteins. We found that ALOG proteins are absent in green algae but exist in all land plants analyzed as well as in some Charophycean algae, closest relatives of land plants. Multiple sequence alignments identified the high sequence conservation of ALOG domains in divergent plant lineages. Phylogenetic analyses also identified a distinct clade of ALOG protein member of lycophytes and bryophytes, including two of Marchantia polymorpha LATERAL ORGAN SUPPRESOR (MpLOS1 and MpLOS2) with a long branch length in MpLOS2. Consistent with this, the function of MpLOS1 was replaceable by Phycomitrella patens ALOG proteins, whereas MpLOS2 failed to replace the molecular function of MpLOS1. Moreover, the rice ALOG proteins, OsTAW1 and OsG1, were not able to replace the molecular function of MpLOS1 although we previously found that the function of OsG1 was replaceable by MpLOS1. Altogether, these findings suggest that ALOG proteins emerged before the evolution of land plants and that they exhibit functional conservation and diversification during the evolution of land plants. The finding that MpLOS1 is able to complement rice ALOG mutants but not vice versa also suggest the existence of conserved and the partly divergent functions of ALOG proteins in bryophytes and angiosperms.

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We thank Kei Saito and Eriko Kida for assistance with plant transformation. This work is supported by Grants-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Technology, Japan (KAKENHI Grant Numbers 17K17595 for S.N. and 17H06465 for J.K.).

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Correspondence to Satoshi Naramoto.

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Naramoto, S., Hata, Y. & Kyozuka, J. The origin and evolution of the ALOG proteins, members of a plant-specific transcription factor family, in land plants. J Plant Res (2020).

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  • ALOG
  • Evolution
  • LOS
  • Marchantia polymorpha
  • Transcription factor