Molecular evolution and diversification of the grf transcription factor family

Leila Spagnolo Fonini, Fernanda Lazzarotto, Pedro M. Barros, Caroline Cabreira-Cagliari, Marcelo Affonso Begossi Martins, Nelson J.M. Saibo, Andreia Carina Turchetto-Zolet, Marcia Margis-Pinheiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Growth Regulating Factors (GRFs) comprise a transcription factor family with important functions in plant growth and development. They are characterized by the presence of QLQ and WRC domains, responsible for interaction with proteins and DNA, respectively. The QLQ domain is named due to the similarity to a protein interaction domain found in the SWI2/SNF2 chromatin remodeling complex. Despite the occurrence of the QLQ domain in both families, the di-vergence between them had not been further explored. Here, we show evidence for GRF origin and determined its diversification in angiosperm species. Phylogenetic analysis revealed 11 well-supported groups of GRFs in flowering plants. These groups were supported by gene structure, synteny, and protein domain composition. Synteny and phylogenetic analyses allowed us to propose different sets of probable orthologs in the groups. Besides, our results, together with functional data previously published, allowed us to suggest candidate genes for engineering agronomic traits. In addition, we propose that the QLQ domain of GRF genes evolved from the eukaryotic SNF2 QLQ domain, most likely by a duplication event in the common ancestor of the Charophytes and land plants. Altogether, our results are important for advancing the origin and evolution of the GRF family in Streptophyta.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20200080
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalGenetics and Molecular Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Bayesian analysis
  • GRF
  • Molecular evolution
  • QLQ domain


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular evolution and diversification of the grf transcription factor family'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this