Genome-wide identification and functional characterization of the Camelina sativa WRKY gene family in response to abiotic stress
Background: WRKY transcription factors are a superfamily of regulators involved in diverse biological processes and stress responses in plants. However, there is limited knowledge about the WRKY family in camelina (Camelina sativa), an important Brassicaceae oil crop with strong tolerance for various stresses. Here, a genome-wide characterization of WRKY proteins is performed to examine their gene structures, phylogenetics, expression, conserved motif organizations, and functional annotation to
... ional annotation to identify candidate WRKYs that mediate stress resistance regulation in camelinas. Results: A total of 242 CsWRKY proteins encoded by 224 gene loci distributed unevenly over the chromosomes were identified, and they were classified into three groups by phylogenetic analysis according to their WRKY domains and zinc finger motifs. The 15 CsWRKY gene loci generated 33 spliced variants. Orthologous WRKY gene pairs were identified, with 173 pairs in the C. sativa and Arabidopsis genomes as well as 282 pairs in the C. sativa and B. napus genomes, respectively. A total of 137 segmental duplication events were observed, but there was no tandem duplication in the camelina genome. Ten major conserved motifs were examined, with WRKYGQK being the most conserved, and several variants were present in many CsWRKYs. Expression analysis revealed that 50% more CsWRKY genes were expressed constitutively, and a set of them displayed tissue-specific expression. Notably, 11 CsWRKY genes exhibited significant expression changes in seedlings under cold, salt, and drought stresses, showing a preferentially inducible expression pattern in response to the stress. Conclusions: The present article describes a detailed analysis of the CsWRKY gene family and its expression profiles in twelve tissues and under several stress conditions. Segmental duplication is the major force underlying the broad expansion of this gene family, and a strong purifying pressure occurred for CsWRKY proteins during their evolution. CsWRKY proteins play important roles in plant development, with differential functions in different tissues. Exceptionally, eleven CsWRKYs, particularly five alternative spliced isoforms, were found to be the possible key players in mediating plant responses to various stresses. Overall, our results provide a foundation for understanding the roles of CsWRKYs and the precise mechanism through which CsWRKYs regulate high stress resistance as well as the development of stress tolerance cultivars among Cruciferae crops.