Genome-wide evolutionary characterization and expression analyses of WRKY family genes in Brachypodium distachyon

Feng Wen, Hong Zhu, Peng Li, Min Jiang, Wenqing Mao, Chermaine Ong, Zhaoqing Chu
DNA Research: An International Journal for Rapid Publication of Reports on Genes and Genomes 2014, 21 (3): 327-39
Members of plant WRKY gene family are ancient transcription factors that function in plant growth and development and respond to biotic and abiotic stresses. In our present study, we have investigated WRKY family genes in Brachypodium distachyon, a new model plant of family Poaceae. We identified a total of 86 WRKY genes from B. distachyon and explored their chromosomal distribution and evolution, domain alignment, promoter cis-elements, and expression profiles. Combining the analysis of phylogenetic tree of BdWRKY genes and the result of expression profiling, results showed that most of clustered gene pairs had higher similarities in the WRKY domain, suggesting that they might be functionally redundant. Neighbour-joining analysis of 301 WRKY domains from Oryza sativa, Arabidopsis thaliana, and B. distachyon suggested that BdWRKY domains are evolutionarily more closely related to O. sativa WRKY domains than those of A. thaliana. Moreover, tissue-specific expression profile of BdWRKY genes and their responses to phytohormones and several biotic or abiotic stresses were analysed by quantitative real-time PCR. The results showed that the expression of BdWRKY genes was rapidly regulated by stresses and phytohormones, and there was a strong correlation between promoter cis-elements and the phytohormones-induced BdWRKY gene expression.

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