JOURNAL ARTICLE

Phylogeny, gene structures, and expression patterns of the ERF gene family in soybean (Glycine max L.)

Gaiyun Zhang, Ming Chen, Xueping Chen, Zhaoshi Xu, Shan Guan, Lian-Cheng Li, Aili Li, Jiaming Guo, Long Mao, Youzhi Ma
Journal of Experimental Botany 2008, 59 (15): 4095-107
18832187
Members of the ERF transcription factor family play important roles in regulating gene expression in response to biotic and abiotic stresses. In soybean (Glycine max L.), however, only a few ERF genes have been studied so far. In this study, 98 unigenes that contained a complete AP2/ERF domain were identified from 63,676 unique sequences in the DFCI Soybean Gene Index database. The phylogeny, gene structures, and putative conserved motifs in soybean ERF proteins were analysed, and compared with those of Arabidopsis and rice. The members of the soybean ERF family were divided into 12 subgroups, similar to the case for Arabidopsis. AP2/ERF domains were conserved among soybean, Arabidopsis, and rice. Outside the AP2/ERF domain, many soybean-specific conserved motifs were detected. Expression analysis showed that nine unigenes belonging to six ERF family subgroups were induced by both biotic/abiotic stresses and hormone treatment, suggesting that they were involved in cross-talk between biotic and abiotic stress-responsive signalling pathways. Overexpression of two full-length genes from two different subgroups enhanced the tolerances to drought, salt stresses, and/or pathogen infection of the tobacco plants. These results will be useful for elucidating ERF gene-associated stress response signalling pathways in soybean.

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