Genome-wide investigation of ARF transcription factor gene family and its responses to abiotic stress in Coix (Coix lacryma-jobi L.)

Zhai, Y.; Shen, X.; Sun, Y.; Liu, Q.; Ma, N.; Zhang, X.; Jia, Q.; Liang, Z.; Wang, D.

Protoplasma 260(5): 1389-1405


ISSN/ISBN: 1615-6102
PMID: 37041371
Accession: 090123010

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Auxin response factor (ARF) is an important transcription factor that regulates the expression of auxin-responsive genes by direct binding to their promoters, which play a central role in plant growth, development, and response to abiotic stresses. The availability of the entire Coix (Coix lacryma-jobi L.) genome sequence provides an opportunity to investigate the characteristics and evolutionary history of the ARF gene family in this medicine and food homology plant for the first time. In this study, a total of 27 ClARF genes were identified based on the genome-wide sequence of Coix. Twenty-four of the 27 ClARF genes were unevenly distributed on 8 chromosomes except Chr 4 and 10, and the remaining three genes (ClARF25-27) were not assigned to any chromosome. Most of the ClARF proteins were predicted to be localized to the nucleus, except ClARF24, which was localized to both the plasma membrane and nucleus. Twenty-seven ClARFs were clustered into six subgroups based on the phylogenetic analysis. Duplication analysis showed that segmental duplication, rather than tandem duplications promoting the expansion of the ClARF gene family. Synteny analysis showed that purifying selection might have been a primary driving force in the development of the ARF gene family in Coix and other investigated cereal plants. The prediction of the cis element of the promoter showed that 27 ClARF genes contain several stress response elements, suggesting that ClARFs might be involved in the abiotic stress response. Expression profile analysis shows that 27 ClARF genes were all expressed in the root, shoot, leaf, kernel, glume, and male flower of Coix with varying expression levels. Furthermore, qRT-PCR analyses revealed that the majority of ClARFs members were upregulated or downregulated in response to hormone treatment and abiotic stress. The current study expands our understanding of the functional roles of ClARFs in stress responses and provides basic information for the ClARF genes.