Genome-wide analysis of the Glycerol-3-Phosphate Acyltransferase (GPAT) gene family reveals the evolution and diversification of plant GPATs

Abstract sn-Glycerol-3-phosphate 1-O-acyltransferase (GPAT) is an important enzyme that catalyzes the transfer of an acyl group from acyl-CoA or acyl-ACP to the sn-1 or sn-2 position of sn-glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P) to generate lysophosphatidic acids (LPAs). The functional studies of GPAT in plants demonstrated its importance in controlling storage and membrane lipid. Identifying genes encoding GPAT in a variety of plant species is crucial to understand their involvement in different metabolic pathways and physiological functions. Here, we performed genome-wide and evolutionary analyses of GPATs in plants. GPAT genes were identified in all algae and plants studied. The phylogenetic analysis showed that these genes group into three main clades. While clades I (GPAT9) and II (soluble GPAT) include GPATs from algae and plants, clade III (GPAT1-8) includes GPATs specific from plants that are involved in the biosynthesis of cutin or suberin. Gene organization and the expression pattern of GPATs in plants corroborate with clade formation in the phylogeny, suggesting that the evolutionary patterns is reflected in their functionality. Overall, our results provide important insights into the evolution of the plant GPATs and allowed us to explore the evolutionary mechanism underlying the functional diversification among these genes.