Muhammad Zayed

Concordia university
Evolutionary and In Silico Function Analysis of a Novel Cold-Responsive Gene in Wheat

Muhammad Zayed, Kyle Grant and Selvadurai Dayanandan

Identification of cold-responsive genes is essential for developing cold tolerant crop plants to increase agricultural productivity in the temperate regions. This study focuses on gaining insights into the evolutionary history and in-silico functional characterization of a novel cold-responsive gene in wheat. This gene has a distant homology to known abiotic stress-related genes in other plants, including CAP160 in Spinacia oleracea, RD29B in Arabidopsis thaliana and CDeT11-24 in Craterostigma plantagineum. We investigated if these genes form a closely related gene family with a close homologous relationship and shared ancestry or if they are a result of convergent evolution from unrelated proteins. Our results indicated that these genes are homologous and evolved from a common ancestor. The Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of the protein sequences of the CAP160 genes from various plant species, revealed three distinctive clades. Further analyses showed that this gene has predominantly evolved through neutral processes with some regions experiencing signatures of negative selections and some regions showing signatures of episodic positive selections. These genes contained common K-like segments and function predictions revealed that these protein-coding genes may share at least two functions related to abiotic stress conditions. One function is similar to the cryoprotective function of LEA protein, and the second function as a signalling molecule by binding specifically to phosphatidic acid.