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Dynamic transcriptome analysis reveals AP2/ERF transcription factors responsible for cold stress in rapeseed (Brassica napus L.)


The APETALA2/ethylene response factor (AP2/ERF) transcription factor (TF) superfamily plays an important regulatory role in signal transduction of the plant responses to various stresses including low temperature. Significant progress has been made in understanding the mechanism of cold resistance in Brassica napus, an important oilseed crop. However, comprehensive studies on the induction and activity of these TFs under low temperature have been lacking. In this study, 132 AP2/ERF genes were identified by transcriptome sequencing of rapeseed leaves exposed to 0, 2, 6, 12, and 24 h of low (4 °C) temperature stress. The genes were classified into 4 subfamilies (AP2, DREB, ERF, and RAV) and 13 subgroups, among which the DREB subfamily and ERF subfamily contained 114 genes, no genes were assigned to soloist or DREB A3 subgroups. One hundred and eighteen genes were located on chromosomes A1 to C9. GO functional analysis and promoter sequence analysis revealed that these genes are involved in many molecular pathways that may enhance cold resistance in plants, such as the low-temperature responsiveness, methyl jasmonate, abscisic acid, and ethylene-responsiveness pathways. Their expression patterns revealed dynamic control at different times following initiation of cold stress; the RAV and DREB subfamilies were expressed at the early stage of cold stress, whereas the AP2 subfamily was expressed later. Quantitative PCR analyses of 13 cold-induced AP2/ERF TFs confirmed the accuracy of above results. This study is the first dynamic analysis of the AP2/ERF TFs responsible for cold stress in rapeseed. These findings will serve as a reference for future functional research on transcription in rapeseed.

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We thank Professor Wujun Gao (College of Life Science, Henan Normal University) for the thoughtful suggestions. This research was supported by the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2011AA10A104), Natural Science Foundation of Hubei Province Key Program (2014CFA008) and Key Projects of Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences (Grant No. 2012yzd09).

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Correspondence to Jinxing Tu.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animal performed by any of the authors.

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Communicated by A. K. Tyag.

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Du, C., Hu, K., Xian, S. et al. Dynamic transcriptome analysis reveals AP2/ERF transcription factors responsible for cold stress in rapeseed (Brassica napus L.). Mol Genet Genomics 291, 1053–1067 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00438-015-1161-0

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  • Transcriptome analysis
  • AP2/ERF transcription factors
  • B. napus
  • Stress response
  • Brassicaceae