Identification, Structural Characterization and Gene Expression Analysis of Members of the Nuclear Factor-Y Family in Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) under Dehydration and Abscisic Acid Treatments
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
In plants, the Nuclear Factor-Y (NF-Y) transcription factors (TFs), which include three distinct types of NF-YA, NF-YB, and NF-YC TFs, have been identified to play key roles in the regulation of various plant growth and developmental processes under both normal and environmental stress conditions. In this work, a total of 40 CaNF-Y-encoding genes, including eight CaNF-YAs, 21 CaNF-YBs, and 11 CaNF-YCs, were identified in chickpea, and their major gene and protein characteristics were
... y obtained using various web-based tools. Of our interest, a phylogenetically-based analysis predicted 18 CaNF-Ys (eight CaNF-YAs, seven CaNF-YBs, and three CaNF-YCs) that potentially play roles in chickpea responses to dehydration according to their close relationship with the well-characterized GmNF-Ys in soybean. These results were in good agreement with the enrichment of drought-responsive cis-regulatory motifs and expression patterns obtained from in silico analyses using publically available transcriptome data. Most of the phylogenetically predicted drought-responsive CaNF-Y genes (15 of 18) were quantitatively validated to significantly respond to dehydration treatment in leaves and/or roots, further supporting the results of in silico analyses. Among these CaNF-Y genes, the transcript levels of CaNF-YA01 and CaNF-YC10 were the most highly accumulated in leaves (by approximately eight-fold) and roots (by approximately 18-fold), respectively, by dehydration. Furthermore, 12 of the 18 CaNF-Y genes were found to be responsive to the most well-known stress hormone, namely abscisic acid (ABA), in leaves and/or roots, suggesting that these genes may act in chickpea response to dehydration in ABA-dependent manner. Taken together, our study has provided a comprehensive and fundamental information for further functional analyses of selected CaNF-Y candidate genes, ultimately leading to the improvement of chickpea growth under water-limited conditions.