Genomic analysis of 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid reductase genes of Zea mays
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The 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid reductases (OPRs) are enzymes of the octadecanoid pathway which converts linolenic acid to a phytohormone, jasmonic acid. Bioinformatics analysis of ESTs and genomic sequences from available private and public databases revealed that the maize genome encodes eight different OPR genes. This number of maize OPR genes has been independently confirmed by Southern blot analysis and by mapping of individual OPR genes to maize chromosomes using oat maize chromosome addition lines. Survey of massively parallel signature sequencing (MPSS) assays revealed that transcripts of each OPR gene accumulate differentially in diverse organs of maize plants. This data suggested that individual OPR genes may have a distinct function in development. Similarly, RNA blot analysis revealed that distinct OPR genes are differentially regulated in response to stress hormones, wounding or pathogen infection. ZmOPR1 and ZmOPR2 appear to have important functions in defense responses to pathogens because they are transiently induced by salicylic acid (SA), chitooligosaccharides and by infection with Cochliobolus carbonum, Bipolaris maydis and Fusarium verticillioides and not by wounding. In contrast to these two genes, ZmOPR6 and ZmOPR7/8 are highly induced by wounding and treatments with wound-associated signaling molecules jasmonic acid, ethylene and abscisic acid. ZmOPR6 and ZmOPR7/8 are not induced by SA treatments or pathogen infections suggesting their specific involvement in wound-induced defense responses. Possible functions of specific OPR genes are discussed.