Genome-Wide Identification and Expression Analysis of WRKY Transcription Factors under Multiple Stresses in Brassica napus.PLoS One. 2016; 11(6):e0157558.Plos
WRKY transcription factors play important roles in responses to environmental stress stimuli. Using a genome-wide domain analysis, we identified 287 WRKY genes with 343 WRKY domains in the sequenced genome of Brassica napus, 139 in the A sub-genome and 148 in the C sub-genome. These genes were classified into eight groups based on phylogenetic analysis. In the 343 WRKY domains, a total of 26 members showed divergence in the WRKY domain, and 21 belonged to group I. This finding suggested that WRKY genes in group I are more active and variable compared with genes in other groups. Using genome-wide identification and analysis of the WRKY gene family in Brassica napus, we observed genome duplication, chromosomal/segmental duplications and tandem duplication. All of these duplications contributed to the expansion of the WRKY gene family. The duplicate segments that were detected indicated that genome duplication events occurred in the two diploid progenitors B. rapa and B. olearecea before they combined to form B. napus. Analysis of the public microarray database and EST database for B. napus indicated that 74 WRKY genes were induced or preferentially expressed under stress conditions. According to the public QTL data, we identified 77 WRKY genes in 31 QTL regions related to various stress tolerance. We further evaluated the expression of 26 BnaWRKY genes under multiple stresses by qRT-PCR. Most of the genes were induced by low temperature, salinity and drought stress, indicating that the WRKYs play important roles in B. napus stress responses. Further, three BnaWRKY genes were strongly responsive to the three multiple stresses simultaneously, which suggests that these 3 WRKY may have multi-functional roles in stress tolerance and can potentially be used in breeding new rapeseed cultivars. We also found six tandem repeat pairs exhibiting similar expression profiles under the various stress conditions, and three pairs were mapped in the stress related QTL regions, indicating tandem duplicate WRKYs in the adaptive responses to environmental stimuli during the evolution process. Our results provide a framework for future studies regarding the function of WRKY genes in response to stress in B. napus.