Journal Article

The WRKY Family of Transcription Factors in Rice and <i>Arabidopsis</i> and Their Origins

Kun-Lu Wu, Ze-Jian Guo, Hai-Hua Wang and Jing Li

in DNA Research

Published on behalf of Kazusa DNA Research Institute

Volume 12, issue 1, pages 9-26
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1340-2838
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1756-1663 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/dnares/12.1.9

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WRKY transcription factors, originally isolated from plants contain one or two conserved WRKY domains, about 60 amino acid residues with the WRKYGQK sequence followed by a C2H2 or C2HC zinc finger motif. Evidence is accumulating to suggest that the WRKY proteins play significant roles in responses to biotic and abiotic stresses, and in development. In this research, we identified 102 putative WRKY genes from the rice genome and compared them with those from Arabidopsis. The WRKY genes from rice and Arabidopsis were divided into three groups with several subgroups on the basis of phylogenies and the basic structure of the WRKY domains (WDs). The phylogenetic trees generated from the WDs and the genes indicate that the WRKY gene family arose during evolution through duplication and that the dramatic amplification of rice WRKY genes in group III is due to tandem and segmental gene duplication compared with those of Arabidopsis. The result suggests that some of the rice WRKY genes in group III are evolutionarily more active than those in Arabidopsis, and may have specific roles in monocotyledonous plants. Further, it was possible to identify the presence of WRKY-like genes in protists (Giardia lamblia and Dictyostelium discoideum) and green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii through database research, demonstrating the ancient origin of the gene family. The results obtained by alignments of the WDs from different species and other analysis imply that domain gain and loss is a divergent force for expansion of the WRKY gene family, and that a rapid amplification of the WRKY genes predate the divergence of monocots and dicots. On the basis of these results, we believe that genes encoding a single WD may have been derived from the C-terminal WD of the genes harboring two WDs. The conserved intron splicing positions in the WDs of higher plants offer clues about WRKY gene evolution, annotation, and classification.

Keywords: evolution; Oryza sativa; transcription factor; WRKY gene

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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