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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Genome-wide characterization and comparative analysis of R2R3-MYB transcription factors shows the complexity of MYB-associated regulatory networks in Salvia miltiorrhiza

Caili Li and Shanfa Lu*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, No.151, Malianwa North Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100193, China

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:277  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-277

Published: 11 April 2014



MYB is the largest plant transcription factor gene family playing vital roles in plant growth and development. However, it has not been systematically studied in Salvia miltiorrhiza, an economically important medicinal plant.


Here we report the genome-wide identification and characterization of 110 R2R3-MYBs, the largest subfamily of MYBs in S. miltiorrhiza. The MYB domain and other motifs of SmMYBs are largely conserved with Arabidopsis AtMYBs, whereas the divergence of SmMYBs and AtMYBs also exists, suggesting the conservation and diversity of plant MYBs. SmMYBs and AtMYBs may be classified into 37 subgroups, of which 31 include proteins from S. miltiorrhiza and Arabidopsis, whereas 6 are specific to a species, indicating that the majority of MYBs play conserved roles, while others may exhibit species-specialized functions. SmMYBs are differentially expressed in various tissues of S. miltiorrhiza. The expression profiles are largely consistent with known functions of their Arabidopsis counterparts. The expression of a subset of SmMYBs is regulated by microRNAs, such as miR159, miR319, miR828 and miR858. Based on functional conservation of MYBs in a subgroup, SmMYBs potentially involved in the biosynthesis of bioactive compounds were identified.


A total of 110 R2R3-MYBs were identified and analyzed. The results suggest the complexity of MYB-mediated regulatory networks in S. miltiorrhiza and provide a foundation for understanding the regulatory mechanism of SmMYBs.