Analysis of basic leucine zipper genes and their expression during bud dormancy in peach (Prunus persica).
Dormancy is a biological characteristic developed to resist the cold conditions in winter. The bZIP transcription factors are present exclusively in eukaryotes and have been identified and classified in many species. bZIP proteins are known to regulate numerous biological processes, however, the role of bZIP in bud dodormancy has not been studied extensively. In total, 50 PpbZIP transcription factor-encoding genes were identified and categorized them into 10 groups (A-I and S). Similar intron/exon structures, additional conserved motifs, and DNA-binding site specificity supported our classification scheme. Additionally, chromosomal distribution and collinearity analyses suggested that expansion of the PpbZIP transcription factor family was due to segment/chromosomal duplications. We also predicted the dimerization properties based on characteristic features of the leucine zipper and classified PpbZIP proteins into 23 subfamilies. Furthermore, qRT-PCR results indicated that PpbZIPs genes may be involved in regulating dormancy. The same gene of different species might participate in different regulating networks through interactions with specific partners. Our expression profiling results complemented the microarray data, suggesting that co-expression patterns of bZIP transcription factors during dormancy differed among deciduous fruit trees. Our findings further clarify the molecular characteristics of the PpbZIP transcription factor family, including potential gene functions during dormancy. This information may facilitate further research on the evolutionary history and biological functions of bZIP proteins in peach and other rosaceae plants.