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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01684

Identification, Expression and Functional Analysis of Group IId WRKY Subfamily in Upland Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)

 Lijiao Gu1, Hantao Wang1, Hengling Wei1,  Junji Su1, Huiru Sun1, 2, Libei Li1, Zhengzheng Su1,  Chi Zhang1, 2, Liang Ma1, Congcong Wang1 and  Shuxun Yu1*
  • 1Cotton Research Institute (CAAS), China
  • 2Northwest A&F University, China

WRKY transcription factors have diverse functions in regulating stress response, leaf senescence, and plant growth and development. However, knowledge of the group IId WRKY subfamily in cotton is largely absent. This study identified 34 group IId WRKY genes in the Gossypium hirsutum genome, and their genomic loci were investigated. Members clustered together in the phylogenetic tree had similar motif compositions and gene structural features, revealing similarity and conservation within group IId WRKY genes. During the evolutionary process, 14 duplicated genes appeared to undergo purification selection. Public RNA-seq data were used to examine the expression patterns of group IId WRKY genes in various tissues and under drought and salt stress conditions. Ten highly expressed genes were identified, and the ten candidate genes revealed distinct expression patterns under drought and salt treatments by qRT-PCR analysis. Among them, Gh_A11G1801 was used for functional characterization. GUS activity was differentially induced by various stresses in Gh_A11G1801p::GUS transgenic Arabidopsis plants. The virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) of Gh_A11G1801 resulted in drought sensitivity in cotton plants, which was accompanied by elevated malondialdehyde (MDA) content and reduced catalase (CAT) content. Taken together, these findings obtained in this study provide valuable resources for further studying group IId WRKY genes in cotton. Our results also enrich the gene resources for the genetic improvements of cotton varieties that are suitable for growth in stressful conditions.

Keywords: group IId WRKY genes, Expression patterns, stress response, Gh_A11G1801, Upland cotton

Received: 02 Aug 2018; Accepted: 30 Oct 2018.

Edited by:

Sung Chul Lee, Chung-Ang University, South Korea

Reviewed by:

Rossitza ATANASSOVA, University of Poitiers, France
Hyong Woo Choi, Boyce Thompson Institute, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Gu, Wang, Wei, Su, Sun, Li, Su, Zhang, Ma, Wang and Yu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Shuxun Yu, Cotton Research Institute (CAAS), Anyang, 455000, Henan Province, China, ysx195311@163.com