Effects of gene expression on molecular evolution in Arabidopsis thaliana and Arabidopsis lyrata

Stephen I. Wright, C. B.Kenneth Yau, Mark Looseley, Blake C. Meyers

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116 Scopus citations


We analyzed the complete genome sequence of Arabidopsis thaliana and sequence data from 83 genes in the outcrossing A. lyrata, to better understand the role of gene expression on the strength of natural selection on synonymous and replacement sites in Arabidopsis. From data on tRNA gene abundance, we find a good concordance between codon preferences and the relative abundance of isoaccepting tRNAs in the complete A. thaliana genome, consistent with models of translational selection. Both EST-based and new quantitative measures of gene expression (MPSS) suggest that codon preferences derived from information on tRNA abundance are more strongly associated with gene expression than those obtained from multivariate analysis, which provides further support for the hypothesis that codon bias in Arabidopsis is under selection mediated by tRNA abundance. Consistent with previous results, analysis of protein evolution reveals a significant correlation between gene expression level and amino acid substitution rate. Analysis by MPSS estimates of gene expression suggests that this effect is primarily the result of a correlation between the number of tissues in which a gene is expressed and the rate of amino acid substitution, which indicates that the degree of tissue specialization may be an important determinant of the rate of protein evolution in Arabidopsis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1719-1726
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular biology and evolution
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Arabidopsis lyrata
  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Codon bias
  • MPSS
  • Protein evolution
  • TRNA


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