The genome of Thellungiella parvula, a halophytic relative of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), is being assembled using Roche-454 sequencing. Analyses of a 10-Mb scaffold revealed synteny with Arabidopsis, with recombination and inversion and an uneven distribution of repeat sequences. T. parvula genome structure and DNA sequences were compared with orthologous regions from Arabidopsis and publicly available bacterial artificial chromosome sequences from Thellungiella salsuginea (previously Thellungiella halophila). The three-way comparison of sequences, from one abiotic stress-sensitive species and two tolerant species, revealed extensive sequence conservation and microcolinearity, but grouping Thellungiella species separately from Arabidopsis. However, the T. parvula segments are distinguished from their T. salsuginea counterparts by a pronounced paucity of repeat sequences, resulting in a 30% shorter DNA segment with essentially the same gene content in T. parvula. Among the genes is SALT OVERLY SENSITIVE1 (SOS1), a sodium/proton antiporter, which represents an essential component of plant salinity stress tolerance. Although the SOS1 coding region is highly conserved among all three species, the promoter regions show conservation only between the two Thellungiella species. Comparative transcript analyses revealed higher levels of basal as well as salt-induced SOS1 expression in both Thellungiella species as compared with Arabidopsis. The Thellungiella species and other halophytes share conserved pyrimidine-rich 5' untranslated region proximal regions of SOS1 that are missing in Arabidopsis. Completion of the genome structure of T. parvula is expected to highlight distinctive genetic elements underlying the extremophile lifestyle of this species. © American Society of Plant Biologists.
- Plant Science