Identification and expression profiling of the auxin response factors (ARFs) in the tea plant (Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze) under various abiotic stresses

Yan-Xia Xu, Juan Mao, Wei Chen, Ting-Ting Qian, Sheng-Chuan Liu, Wan-Jun Hao, Chun-Fang Li, Liang Chen
Plant Physiology and Biochemistry: PPB 2016, 98: 46-56
Auxin response factor (ARF) proteins are a multigene family of regulators involved in various physiological and developmental processes in plants. However, their modes of action in the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) remain largely unknown. In this study, we identified 15 members of the tea ARF gene family, using the public information about C. sinensis, both in our laboratory, as well as in other laboratories, and analyzed their phylogenetic relationships, conserved domains and the compositions of the amino acids in the middle region. A comprehensive expression analysis in different tissues and organs revealed that many ARF genes were expressed in a tissue-specific manner, suggesting they have different functions in the growth and development processes of the tea plant. The expression analysis under three forms of auxin (indole-3-acetic acid, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, naphthylacetic acid) treatment showed that the majority of the ARF genes were down-regulated in the shoots and up-regulated in the roots, suggesting opposite action mechanisms of the ARF genes in the shoots and roots. The expression levels of most ARF genes were changed under various phytohormone and abiotic stresses, indicating the ARF gene family plays important roles in various phytohormone and abiotic stress signals and may mediate the crosstalk between phytohormones and abiotic stresses. The current study provides basic information for the ARF genes of the tea plant and will pave the way for deciphering the precise role of ARFs in tea developmental processes and breeding stress-tolerant tea varieties.

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