Glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) is an enzyme that catalyses the conversion of L-glutamate into 𝛾-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a four-carbon non-protein amino acid present in all organisms. Although plant GAD plays important roles in GABA biosynthesis, our knowledge concerning GAD gene family members and their evolutionary relationship remains limited. Therefore, in this study, we have analysed the evolutionary mechanisms of soybean GAD genes and suggested that these genes expanded in the soybean genome partly due to segmental duplication events. The approximate dates of duplication events were calculated using the synonymous substitution rate, and we suggested that the segmental duplication of GAD genes in soybean originated 9.47 to 11.84 million years ago (Mya). In addition, all segmental duplication pairs (GmGAD1/3 and GmGAD2/4) are subject to purifying selection. Furthermore, GmGAD genes displayed differential expression either in their transcript abundance or in their expression patterns under abiotic stress conditions like salt, drought, and cold. The expression pattern of paralogous pairs suggested that they might have undergone neofunctionalization during the subsequent evolution process. Taken together, our results provide valuable information for the evolution of the GAD gene family and represent the basis for future research on the functional characterization of GAD genes in higher plants.
Volume 45, 2020
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