Conservation, convergence, and divergence of light-responsive, circadian-regulated, and tissue-specific expression patterns during evolution of the Arabidopsis GATA gene family

Ian W. Manfield, Paul F. Devlin, Chih-Hung Jen, David R. Westhead, Philip M. Gilmartin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


In vitro analyses of plant GATA transcription factors have implicated some proteins in light-mediated and circadian-regulated gene expression, and, more recently, the analysis of mutants has uncovered further diverse roles for plant GATA factors. To facilitate function discovery for the 29 GATA genes in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), we have experimentally verified gene structures and determined expression patterns of all family members across adult tissues and suspension cell cultures, as well as in response to light and signals from the circadian clock. These analyses have identified two genes that are strongly developmentally light regulated, expressed predominantly in photosynthetic tissue, and with transcript abundance peaking before dawn. In contrast, several GATA factor genes are light down-regulated. The products of these light-regulated genes are candidates for those proteins previously implicated in light-regulated transcription. Coexpression of these genes with well-characterized light-responsive transcripts across a large microarray data set supports these predictions. Other genes show additional tissue-specific expression patterns suggesting novel and unpredicted roles. Genome-wide analysis using coexpression scatter plots for paralogous gene pairs reveals unexpected differences in cocorrelated gene expression profiles. Clustering the Arabidopsis GATA factor gene family by similarity of expression patterns reveals that genes of recent descent do not uniformly show conserved current expression profiles, yet some genes showing more distant evolutionary origins have acquired common expression patterns. In addition to defining developmental and environmental dynamics of GATA transcript abundance, these analyses offer new insights into the evolution of gene expression profiles following gene duplication events.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-958
Number of pages18
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2007

Cite this