Genome-wide analysis of the bHLH transcription factor family in Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis)

Xiao-Ming Song, Zhi-Nan Huang, Wei-Ke Duan, Jun Ren, Tong-Kun Liu, Ying Li, Xi-Lin Hou
Molecular Genetics and Genomics: MGG 2014, 289 (1): 77-91
Basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors are widely distributed in eukaryotic organisms and are thought to be one of the largest families of regulatory proteins. This important family of transcriptional regulators plays crucial roles in plant development. However, a systematic analysis of the bHLH transcription factor family has not been reported in Chinese cabbage. In this study, 230 bHLH transcription factors were identified from the whole Chinese cabbage genome and compared with proteins from other representative plants, fungi and metazoans. The Chinese cabbage bHLH (BrabHLH) gene family could be classified into 24 subfamilies. Phylogenetic analysis of BrabHLHs along with bHLHs from Arabidopsis and rice indicated 26 subfamilies. The identification, classification, phylogenetic reconstruction, conserved motifs, chromosome distribution, functional annotation, expression patterns and interaction networks of BrabHLHs were analyzed. Distribution mapping showed that BrabHLHs were non-randomly located on the ten Chinese cabbage chromosomes. One hundred and twenty-four orthologous bHLH genes were identified between Chinese cabbage and Arabidopsis, and the interaction networks of the orthologous genes were constructed in Chinese cabbage. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that expressions of BrabHLH genes varied widely under different abiotic stress treatments for different times. Thus, this comprehensive analysis of BrabHLHs represents a rich resource, aiding the elucidation of the roles of bHLH family members in plant growth and development. Furthermore, the comparative genomics analysis deepened our understanding of the evolution of this gene family after a polyploidy event.

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