The R2R3-MYB family, one of the largest transcription factor families in higher plants, controls a wide variety of plant-specific processes including, notably, phenylpropanoid metabolism and secondary cell wall formation. We performed a genome-wide analysis of this superfamily in Eucalyptus, one of the most planted hardwood trees world-wide. A total of 141 predicted R2R3-MYB sequences identified in the Eucalyptus grandis genome sequence were subjected to comparative phylogenetic analyses with Arabidopsis thaliana, Oryza sativa, Populus trichocarpa and Vitis vinifera. We analysed features such as gene structure, conserved motifs and genome location. Transcript abundance patterns were assessed by RNAseq and validated by high-throughput quantitative PCR. We found some R2R3-MYB subgroups with expanded membership in E. grandis, V. vinifera and P. trichocarpa, and others preferentially found in woody species, suggesting diversification of specific functions in woody plants. By contrast, subgroups containing key genes regulating lignin biosynthesis and secondary cell wall formation are more conserved across all of the species analysed. In Eucalyptus, R2R3-MYB tandem gene duplications seem to disproportionately affect woody-preferential and woody-expanded subgroups. Interestingly, some of the genes belonging to woody-preferential subgroups show higher expression in the cambial region, suggesting a putative role in the regulation of secondary growth.
- Eucalyptus grandis
- R2R3-MYB transcription factors
- Secondary growth
- Tandem duplications
- Wood formation