Genome-Wide Analysis of TCP Family Genes in Zea mays L. Identified a Role for ZmTCP42 in Drought Tolerance.Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Jun 05; 20(11)IJ
The Teosinte-branched 1/Cycloidea/Proliferating (TCP) plant-specific transcription factors (TFs) have been demonstrated to play a fundamental role in plant development and organ patterning. However, it remains unknown whether or not the TCP gene family plays a role in conferring a tolerance to drought stress in maize, which is a major constraint to maize production. In this study, we identified 46 ZmTCP genes in the maize genome and systematically analyzed their phylogenetic relationships and synteny with rice, sorghum, and Arabidopsis TCP genes. Expression analysis of the 46 ZmTCP genes in different tissues and under drought conditions, suggests their involvement in maize response to drought stress. Importantly, genetic variations in ZmTCP32 and ZmTCP42 are significantly associated with drought tolerance at the seedling stage. RT-qPCR results suggest that ZmTCP32 and ZmTCP42 RNA levels are both induced by ABA, drought, and polyethylene glycol treatments. Based on the significant association between the genetic variation of ZmTCP42 and drought tolerance, and the inducible expression of ZmTCP42 by drought stress, we selected ZmTCP42, to investigate its function in drought response. We found that overexpression of ZmTCP42 in Arabidopsis led to a hypersensitivity to ABA in seed germination and enhanced drought tolerance, validating its function in drought tolerance. These results suggested that ZmTCP42 functions as an important TCP TF in maize, which plays a positive role in drought tolerance.