Plant basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors play crucial roles in plant growth, development, and abiotic stress responses. However, systematic investigation and analyses of the bZIP gene family in peanut are lacking in spite of the availability of the peanut genome sequence.
In this study, we identified 50 and 45 bZIP genes from Arachis duranensis and A. ipaensis genomes, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis showed that Arachis bZIP genes were classified into nine groups, and these clusters were supported by several group-specific features, including exon/intron structure, intron phases, MEME motifs, and predicted binding site structure. We also identified possible variations in DNA-binding-site specificity and dimerization properties among different Arachis bZIPs by inspecting the amino acid residues at some key sites. Our analysis of the evolutionary history analysis indicated that segmental duplication, rather than tandem duplication, contributed greatly to the expansion of this gene family, and that most Arachis bZIPs underwent strong purifying selection. Through RNA-seq and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analyses, the co-expressed, differentially expressed and several well-studied homologous bZIPs were identified during seed development stages in peanut. We also used qRT-PCR to explore changes in bZIP gene expression in response to salt-treatment, and many candidate bZIPs in groups A, B, and S were proven to be associated with the salt-stress response.
This study have conducted a genome-wide identification, characterization and expression analysis of bZIP genes in Arachis genomes. Our results provide insights into the evolutionary history of the bZIP gene family in peanut and the funcntion of Arachis bZIP genes during seed development and in response to salt stress.