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International Journal of Genomics
Volume 2014, Article ID 967461, 17 pages
Research Article

In Silico Identification, Phylogenetic and Bioinformatic Analysis of Argonaute Genes in Plants

1Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj 66177-15175, Iran
2Laboratory of Alpine Ecology, Joseph Fourier University, 38041 Grenoble, France

Received 27 May 2014; Revised 3 August 2014; Accepted 5 August 2014; Published 15 September 2014

Academic Editor: Ferenc Olasz

Copyright © 2014 Khaled Mirzaei et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Argonaute protein family is the key players in pathways of gene silencing and small regulatory RNAs in different organisms. Argonaute proteins can bind small noncoding RNAs and control protein synthesis, affect messenger RNA stability, and even participate in the production of new forms of small RNAs. The aim of this study was to characterize and perform bioinformatic analysis of Argonaute proteins in 32 plant species that their genome was sequenced. A total of 437 Argonaute genes were identified and were analyzed based on lengths, gene structure, and protein structure. Results showed that Argonaute proteins were highly conserved across plant kingdom. Phylogenic analysis divided plant Argonautes into three classes. Argonaute proteins have three conserved domains PAZ, MID and PIWI. In addition to three conserved domains namely, PAZ, MID, and PIWI, we identified few more domains in AGO of some plant species. Expression profile analysis of Argonaute proteins showed that expression of these genes varies in most of tissues, which means that these proteins are involved in regulation of most pathways of the plant system. Numbers of alternative transcripts of Argonaute genes were highly variable among the plants. A thorough analysis of large number of putative Argonaute genes revealed several interesting aspects associated with this protein and brought novel information with promising usefulness for both basic and biotechnological applications.