Characterization of a chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) NAC family gene, CarNAC5, which is both developmentally- and stress-regulated

Hui Peng, Hui-Ying Cheng, Xin-Wang Yu, Qing-Hua Shi, Hua Zhang, Jian-Gui Li, Hao Ma
Plant Physiology and Biochemistry: PPB 2009, 47 (11-12): 1037-45
It has been documented that the plant-specific NAC (for NAM, ATAF1,2 and CUC2) transcription factors play an important role in plant development and stress responses. In this study, a chickpea NAC gene CarNAC5 (for Cicer arietinum L. NAC gene 5) was isolated from a cDNA library from chickpea leaves treated by polyethylene glycol (PEG). CarNAC5, as a single/low copy gene, contained three exons and two introns within genomic DNA sequence and encoded a polypeptide with 291 amino acids. CarNAC5 protein had a conserved NAC domain in the N-terminus and showed high similarity to other NACs, especially ATAF subgroup members. The CarNAC5:GFP fusion protein was localized in the nucleus of onion epidermal cells. Furthermore, CarNAC5 protein activated the reporter genes LacZ and HIS3 in yeast. The transactivation activity was mapped to the C-terminal region. The transcripts of CarNAC5 appeared in many chickpea tissues including seedling leaves, stems, roots, flowers, seeds and pods, but mostly accumulated in flowers. Meanwhile, CarNAC5 was strongly expressed during seed maturation and in embryos of the early germinating seeds. It was also significantly induced by drought, heat, wounding, salicylic acid (SA), and indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) treatments. Our results suggest that CarNAC5 encodes a novel NAC-domain protein and acts as a transcriptional activator involved in plant developmental regulation and various stress responses.

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