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Transcriptome-wide identification of Camellia sinensis WRKY transcription factors in response to temperature stress


Tea plant [Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze] is a leaf-type healthy non-alcoholic beverage crop, which has been widely introduced worldwide. Tea is rich in various secondary metabolites, which are important for human health. However, varied climate and complex geography have posed challenges for tea plant survival. The WRKY gene family in plants is a large transcription factor family that is involved in biological processes related to stress defenses, development, and metabolite synthesis. Therefore, identification and analysis of WRKY family transcription factors in tea plant have a profound significance. In the present study, 50 putative C. sinensis WRKY proteins (CsWRKYs) with complete WRKY domain were identified and divided into three Groups (Group I-III) on the basis of phylogenetic analysis results. The distribution of WRKY family transcription factors among plantae, fungi, and protozoa showed that the number of WRKY genes increased in higher plant, whereas the number of these genes did not correspond to the evolutionary relationships of different species. Structural feature and annotation analysis results showed that CsWRKY proteins contained WRKYGQK/WRKYGKK domains and C2H2/C2HC-type zinc-finger structure: D-X18-R-X1-Y-X2-C-X4-7-C-X23-H motif; CsWRKY proteins may be associated with the biological processes of abiotic and biotic stresses, tissue development, and hormone and secondary metabolite biosynthesis. Temperature stresses suggested that the candidate CsWRKY genes were involved in responses to extreme temperatures. The current study established an extensive overview of the WRKY family transcription factors in tea plant. This study also provided a global survey of CsWRKY transcription factors and a foundation of future functional identification and molecular breeding.

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This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31200520), Jiangsu Natural Science Foundation (BK2012774) and Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.

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Correspondence to Jing Zhuang.

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Communicated by S. Hohmann.

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Wu, Z., Li, X., Liu, Z. et al. Transcriptome-wide identification of Camellia sinensis WRKY transcription factors in response to temperature stress. Mol Genet Genomics 291, 255–269 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00438-015-1107-6

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  • Tea plant
  • Transcriptome
  • WRKY
  • Transcription factors
  • Temperature stresses