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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The WRKY transcription factor family in Brachypodium distachyon

Prateek Tripathi1, Roel C Rabara1, Tanner J Langum1, Ashley K Boken1, Deena L Rushton1, Darius D Boomsma1, Charles I Rinerson1, Jennifer Rabara1, R Neil Reese1, Xianfeng Chen2, Jai S Rohila1 and Paul J Rushton1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Biology and Microbiology, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, 57007, USA

2 Institute for Green Energy and Clean Environment, Charlottesville, VA, 22906, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Genomics 2012, 13:270  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-270

Published: 22 June 2012

Abstract

Background

A complete assembled genome sequence of wheat is not yet available. Therefore, model plant systems for wheat are very valuable. Brachypodium distachyon (Brachypodium) is such a system. The WRKY family of transcription factors is one of the most important families of plant transcriptional regulators with members regulating important agronomic traits. Studies of WRKY transcription factors in Brachypodium and wheat therefore promise to lead to new strategies for wheat improvement.

Results

We have identified and manually curated the WRKY transcription factor family from Brachypodium using a pipeline designed to identify all potential WRKY genes. 86 WRKY transcription factors were found, a total higher than all other current databases. We therefore propose that our numbering system (BdWRKY1-BdWRKY86) becomes the standard nomenclature. In the JGI v1.0 assembly of Brachypodium with the MIPS/JGI v1.0 annotation, nine of the transcription factors have no gene model and eleven gene models are probably incorrectly predicted. In total, twenty WRKY transcription factors (23.3%) do not appear to have accurate gene models. To facilitate use of our data, we have produced The Database of Brachypodium distachyon WRKY Transcription Factors. Each WRKY transcription factor has a gene page that includes predicted protein domains from MEME analyses. These conserved protein domains reflect possible input and output domains in signaling. The database also contains a BLAST search function where a large dataset of WRKY transcription factors, published genes, and an extensive set of wheat ESTs can be searched. We also produced a phylogram containing the WRKY transcription factor families from Brachypodium, rice, Arabidopsis, soybean, and Physcomitrella patens, together with published WRKY transcription factors from wheat. This phylogenetic tree provides evidence for orthologues, co-orthologues, and paralogues of Brachypodium WRKY transcription factors.

Conclusions

The description of the WRKY transcription factor family in Brachypodium that we report here provides a framework for functional genomics studies in an important model system. Our database is a resource for both Brachypodium and wheat studies and ultimately projects aimed at improving wheat through manipulation of WRKY transcription factors.

Keywords:
WRKY transcription factor; Brachypodium distachyon; Wheat; Comparative genomics; Database