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Plant Molecular Biology Reporter

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 1053–1067 | Cite as

WRKY Transcription Factors in Wheat and Their Induction by Biotic and Abiotic Stress

  • Xinlei Zhu
  • Shuwei Liu
  • Chen Meng
  • Lumin Qin
  • Lina Kong
  • Guangmin Xia
Original Paper

Abstract

WRKY proteins constitute a large family of transcription factors in higher plants, and are involved in the regulation of development, senescence and stress resistance. However, little is known with respect to the constitution and function of WRKY genes in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum). We identified a set of 92 wheat WRKY genes from publicly available sequence databases, and constructed a phylogeny map based on the conserved WRKY domain peptide sequences. The wheat sequences were classified into the standard set of WRKY groups and sub-groups established from plant model genomes. Our results show the WRKY orthologues of wheat and rice are more similar compared to their Arabidopsis counterparts. Therefore, we argue some expansion of the WRKY family occurred following the divergence of these three species. The induction of sequence variation in a subset of 18 TaWRKY genes via somatic hybridization was studied by comparing the sequences from cv. JN177 and its derivative cv. SR3. We also analyzed the responses of these 18 genes to imposed salinity, PEG, ABA and SA using quantitative real time PCR. Nine of the 18 TaWRKY genes were up-regulated by exogenous SA. Six genes were up-regulated by salinity or PEG treatment, and their expression was also induced by exogenous ABA. Interestingly, induction by salinity or PEG was impaired when ABA biosynthesis was inhibited. The indication was that most of the TaWRKY genes involved in the abiotic stress response acted in an ABA-dependent manner.

Keywords

Abiotic stress Somatic hybridization Triticum aestivum Variation WRKY domain 

Abbreviations

ABA

Abscisic acid

CTWD

C terminus WRKY domain

EST

Expressed sequence tag

NTWD

N terminus WRKY domain

PEG

Polyethylene glycol

SA

Salicylic acid

TF

Transcription factor

WD

WRKY domain

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the funds of the National Basic Research 973 Program of China (2009CB118300 and 2012CB114200), National Transgenic Project (Grants 2011ZX08002-002) and Natural Science Foundation of China (31271707, 31000568 and 31030053). We thank Dr. Austin Cape for careful reading of the manuscript and insightful comments.

Supplementary material

11105_2013_565_MOESM1_ESM.doc (38 kb)
Table S1 (DOC 38 kb)
11105_2013_565_MOESM2_ESM.doc (37 kb)
Table S2 (DOC 37 kb)
11105_2013_565_MOESM3_ESM.doc (45 kb)
Table S3 (DOC 45 kb)
11105_2013_565_Fig9_ESM.jpg (1.7 mb)
Figure S1-a

Alignment of the WRKY domain sequences of wheat and representatives from rice and Arabidopsis. The N-terminal and C-terminal WRKY domains of the group Ia WRKY proteins are indicated as NTWD and CTWD, respectively. The conserved motif WRKYGQK is highlighted in bold, and the variable residues within this motif are boxed. Cysteines and histidines forming the zinc-binding pocket are shown in grey, and gaps are marked with dashes. a: WRKY proteins in sub-group Ia; b: proteins in sub-group Ib and IIc; c: proteins in sub-groups IIa and IIb, IId and IIe; d: proteins in group III (JPEG 1712 kb)

11105_2013_565_Fig10_ESM.jpg (1.4 mb)
Figure S1-a

Alignment of the WRKY domain sequences of wheat and representatives from rice and Arabidopsis. The N-terminal and C-terminal WRKY domains of the group Ia WRKY proteins are indicated as NTWD and CTWD, respectively. The conserved motif WRKYGQK is highlighted in bold, and the variable residues within this motif are boxed. Cysteines and histidines forming the zinc-binding pocket are shown in grey, and gaps are marked with dashes. a: WRKY proteins in sub-group Ia; b: proteins in sub-group Ib and IIc; c: proteins in sub-groups IIa and IIb, IId and IIe; d: proteins in group III (JPEG 1712 kb)

11105_2013_565_Fig11_ESM.jpg (1.6 mb)
Figure S1-a

Alignment of the WRKY domain sequences of wheat and representatives from rice and Arabidopsis. The N-terminal and C-terminal WRKY domains of the group Ia WRKY proteins are indicated as NTWD and CTWD, respectively. The conserved motif WRKYGQK is highlighted in bold, and the variable residues within this motif are boxed. Cysteines and histidines forming the zinc-binding pocket are shown in grey, and gaps are marked with dashes. a: WRKY proteins in sub-group Ia; b: proteins in sub-group Ib and IIc; c: proteins in sub-groups IIa and IIb, IId and IIe; d: proteins in group III (JPEG 1712 kb)

11105_2013_565_Fig12_ESM.jpg (2.1 mb)
Figure S1-a

Alignment of the WRKY domain sequences of wheat and representatives from rice and Arabidopsis. The N-terminal and C-terminal WRKY domains of the group Ia WRKY proteins are indicated as NTWD and CTWD, respectively. The conserved motif WRKYGQK is highlighted in bold, and the variable residues within this motif are boxed. Cysteines and histidines forming the zinc-binding pocket are shown in grey, and gaps are marked with dashes. a: WRKY proteins in sub-group Ia; b: proteins in sub-group Ib and IIc; c: proteins in sub-groups IIa and IIb, IId and IIe; d: proteins in group III (JPEG 1712 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xinlei Zhu
    • 1
  • Shuwei Liu
    • 1
  • Chen Meng
    • 1
  • Lumin Qin
    • 1
  • Lina Kong
    • 1
  • Guangmin Xia
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Plant Cell Engineering and Germplasm InnovationMinistry of Education, School of Life Sciences, Shandong UniversityJinanChina

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