Differential evolution of members of the rhomboid gene family with conservative and divergent patterns

Qi Li, Ning Zhang, Liangsheng Zhang, Hong Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Rhomboid proteins are intramembrane serine proteases that are involved in a plethora of biological functions, but the evolutionary history of the rhomboid gene family is not clear. We performed a comprehensive molecular evolutionary analysis of the rhomboid gene family and also investigated the organization and sequence features of plant rhomboids in different subfamilies. Our results showed that eukaryotic rhomboids could be divided into five subfamilies (RhoA-RhoD and PARL). Most orthology groups appeared to be conserved only as single or low-copy genes in all lineages in RhoB-RhoD and PARL, whereas RhoA genes underwent several duplication events, resulting in multiple gene copies. These duplication events were due to whole genome duplications in plants and animals and the duplicates might have experienced functional divergence. We also identified a novel group of plant rhomboid (RhoB1) that might have lost their enzymatic activity; their existence suggests that they might have evolved new mechanisms. Plant and animal rhomboids have similar evolutionary patterns. In addition, there are mutations affecting key active sites in RBL8, RBL9 and one of the Brassicaceae PARL duplicates. This study delineates a possible evolutionary scheme for intramembrane proteins and illustrates distinct fates and a mechanism of evolution of gene duplicates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-380
Number of pages13
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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