Evolution of antimicrobial cysteine-rich peptides in plants

Huizhen Ma, Yong Feng, Qianqian Cao, Jing Jia, Muhammad Ali, Dilip Shah, Blake C. Meyers, Hai He, Yu Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Key message: We analyzed the evolutionary pattern of cysteine-rich peptides (CRPs) to infer the relationship between CRP copy number and plant ecotype, and the origin of bi-domains CRPs. Abstract: Plants produce cysteine-rich peptides (CRPs) that have long-lasting broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity to protect themselves from various groups of pathogens. We analyzed 240 plant genomes, ranging from algae to eudicots, and discovered that CRPs are widely distributed in plants. Our comparative genomics results revealed that CRP genes have been amplified through both whole genome and local tandem duplication. The copy number of these genes varied significantly across lineages and was associated with the plant ecotype. This may be due to their resistance to changing pathogenic environments. The conserved and lineage-specific CRP families contribute to diverse antimicrobial activities. Furthermore, we investigated the unique bi-domain CRPs that result from unequal crossover events. Our findings provide a unique evolutionary perspective on CRPs and insights into their antimicrobial and symbiosis characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1517-1527
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Cell Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Cysteine-rich peptides
  • Gene duplication
  • Plant disease resistance


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