Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Identification of the Hevea brasiliensis AP2/ERF superfamily by RNA sequencing

Cuifang Duan12, Xavier Argout1, Virginie Gébelin1, Marilyne Summo1, Jean-François Dufayard1, Julie Leclercq1, Kuswanhadi3, Piyanuch Piyatrakul14, Julien Pirrello1, Maryannick Rio1, Antony Champion5 and Pascal Montoro1*

Author Affiliations

1 CIRAD, UMR AGAP, Montpellier, F, 34398, France

2 CATAS, RRI, Hainan, Danzhou, 571737, China

3 IRRI, Sembawa Research Centre, P.O. Box 1127, Palembang, Indonesia

4 Rubber Research Institute, Chatuchak, Bangkok, 10900, Thailand

5 IRD, UMR DIADE, Laboratoire LCM, Dakar, Senegal

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14:30  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-30

Published: 16 January 2013



Rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) laticifers are the source of natural rubber. Rubber production depends on endogenous and exogenous ethylene (ethephon). AP2/ERF transcription factors, and especially Ethylene-Response Factors, play a crucial role in plant development and response to biotic and abiotic stresses. This study set out to sequence transcript expressed in various tissues using next-generation sequencing and to identify AP2/ERF superfamily in the rubber tree.


The 454 sequencing technique was used to produce five tissue-type transcript libraries (leaf, bark, latex, embryogenic tissues and root). Reads from all libraries were pooled and reassembled to improve mRNA lengths and produce a global library. One hundred and seventy-three AP2/ERF contigs were identified by in silico analysis based on the amino acid sequence of the conserved AP2 domain from the global library. The 142 contigs with the full AP2 domain were classified into three main families (20 AP2 members, 115 ERF members divided into 11 groups, and 4 RAV members) and 3 soloist members. Fifty-nine AP2/ERF transcripts were found in latex. Alongside the microRNA172 already described in plants, eleven additional microRNAs were predicted to inhibit Hevea AP2/ERF transcripts.


Hevea has a similar number of AP2/ERF genes to that of other dicot species. We adapted the alignment and classification methods to data from next-generation sequencing techniques to provide reliable information. We observed several specific features for the ERF family. Three HbSoloist members form a group in Hevea. Several AP2/ERF genes highly expressed in latex suggest they have a specific function in Hevea. The analysis of AP2/ERF transcripts in Hevea presented here provides the basis for studying the molecular regulation of latex production in response to abiotic stresses and latex cell differentiation.

Ethylene; Rubber; Transcription factor; Transcriptome