Indexed on: 08 Apr '15Published on: 08 Apr '15Published in: PloS one
14-3-3 proteins are a large multigenic family of regulatory proteins ubiquitously found in eukaryotes. In plants, 14-3-3 proteins are reported to play significant role in both development and response to stress stimuli. Therefore, considering their importance, genome-wide analyses have been performed in many plants including Arabidopsis, rice and soybean. But, till date, no comprehensive investigation has been conducted in any C4 panicoid crops. In view of this, the present study was performed to identify 8, 5 and 26 potential 14-3-3 gene family members in foxtail millet (Si14-3-3), sorghum (Sb14-3-3) and maize (Zm14-3-3), respectively. In silico characterization revealed large variations in their gene structures; segmental and tandem duplications have played a major role in expansion of these genes in foxtail millet and maize. Gene ontology annotation showed the participation of 14-3-3 proteins in diverse biological processes and molecular functions, and in silico expression profiling indicated their higher expression in all the investigated tissues. Comparative mapping was performed to derive the orthologous relationships between 14-3-3 genes of foxtail millet and other Poaceae members, which showed a higher, as well as similar percentage of orthology among these crops. Expression profiling of Si14-3-3 genes during different time-points of abiotic stress and hormonal treatments showed a differential expression pattern of these genes, and sub-cellular localization studies revealed the site of action of Si14-3-3 proteins within the cells. Further downstream characterization indicated the interaction of Si14-3-3 with a nucleocytoplasmic shuttling phosphoprotein (SiRSZ21A) in a phosphorylation-dependent manner, and this demonstrates that Si14-3-3 might regulate the splicing events by binding with phosphorylated SiRSZ21A. Taken together, the present study is a comprehensive analysis of 14-3-3 gene family members in foxtail millet, sorghum and maize, which provides interesting information on their gene structure, protein domains, phylogenetic and evolutionary relationships, and expression patterns during abiotic stresses and hormonal treatments, which could be useful in choosing candidate members for further functional characterization. In addition, demonstration of interaction between Si14-3-3 and SiRSZ21A provides novel clues on the involvement of 14-3-3 proteins in the splicing events.