C2H2 type of zinc finger transcription factors in foxtail millet define response to abiotic stresses.

Research paper by Mehanathan M Muthamilarasan, Venkata Suresh VS Bonthala, Awdhesh Kumar AK Mishra, Rohit R Khandelwal, Yusuf Y Khan, Riti R Roy, Manoj M Prasad

Indexed on: 12 Jun '14Published on: 12 Jun '14Published in: Functional & Integrative Genomics


C2H2 type of zinc finger transcription factors (TFs) play crucial roles in plant stress response and hormone signal transduction. Hence considering its importance, genome-wide investigation and characterization of C2H2 zinc finger proteins were performed in Arabidopsis, rice and poplar but no such study was conducted in foxtail millet which is a C4 Panicoid model crop well known for its abiotic stress tolerance. The present study identified 124 C2H2-type zinc finger TFs in foxtail millet (SiC2H2) and physically mapped them onto the genome. The gene duplication analysis revealed that SiC2H2s primarily expanded in the genome through tandem duplication. The phylogenetic tree classified these TFs into five groups (I-V). Further, miRNAs targeting SiC2H2 transcripts in foxtail millet were identified. Heat map demonstrated differential and tissue-specific expression patterns of these SiC2H2 genes. Comparative physical mapping between foxtail millet SiC2H2 genes and its orthologs of sorghum, maize and rice revealed the evolutionary relationships of C2H2 type of zinc finger TFs. The duplication and divergence data provided novel insight into the evolutionary aspects of these TFs in foxtail millet and related grass species. Expression profiling of candidate SiC2H2 genes in response to salinity, dehydration and cold stress showed differential expression pattern of these genes at different time points of stresses.