The cloning of maize genes homologous to the FPF1 of Sinapsis alba revealed the existence of a FPF gene family in maize consisting of at least 9 members. Three of them were used for a genomic and expression analysis. The results of the Northern experiments show that one of the genes, ZmFPF(L), is exclusively expressed in immature cobs and immature tassel, whereas ZmFPF(B) is predominantly expressed in leaves. No expression could be detected for the third gene, ZmFPF(E), although this gene shows a very high homology to ZmFPF(B) in the coding region. These results indicate that individual FPF genes of Zea mays are expressed in different tissues and may have different functions.
A search of genomic and EST-databases for FPF-homologue sequences indicates that this gene family is ubiquitous to the plant kingdom, including the moss Physcomytrella patens, gymnosperms, and di- and monocotyledon angiosperms. A dendrogram, analysing the relationship of 28 different putative FPF-genes, shows that the sequences are clustered in three mayor subgroups. In the second group, only sequences of monocotyledonous plant species are clustered (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Comparison of FPF-sequences. At: Arabidopsis thaliana, Gm: Glycine max, Hv: Hordeum vulgare, Lj: Lotus japonicus, Le: Lycopersicon esculentum, Mc: Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, Mt: Medicago truncatula, Nt: Nicotiana tabacum, Os: Oryza sativa, Pp: Physcomitrella patens, Sa: Sinapis alba, Tt: Triticum turgidum, Zm: Zea mays.
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