Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Plant Biology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Identification of drought stress-responsive transcription factors in ramie (Boehmeria nivea L. Gaud)

Touming Liu*, Siyuan Zhu, Qingming Tang, Yongting Yu and Shouwei Tang*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Bast Fiber Crops and Center of Southern Economic Crops, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Changsha 410205, China

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Plant Biology 2013, 13:130  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-130

Published: 10 September 2013



Ramie fiber extracted from stem bark is one of the most important natural fibers. Drought is a main environment stress which severely inhibits the stem growth of ramie and leads to a decrease of the fiber yield. The drought stress-regulatory mechanism of ramie is poorly understood.


Using Illumina sequencing, approximately 4.8 and 4.7 million (M) 21-nt cDNA tags were respectively sequenced in the cDNA libraries derived from the drought-stressed ramie (DS) and the control ramie under well water condition (CO). The tags generated from the two libraries were aligned with ramie transcriptome to annotate their function and a total of 23,912 and 22,826 ramie genes were matched by these tags of DS and CO library, respectively. Comparison of gene expression level between CO and DS ramie based on the differences of tag frequencies appearing in the two libraries revealed that there were 1516 potential drought stress-responsive genes, in which 24 genes function as transcription factor (TF). Among these 24 TFs, the unigene19721 encoding the DELLA protein which is a key negative regulator in gibberellins (GAs) signal pathway was probably markedly up-regulated under water stress for a increase of tag abundance in DS library, which is possibly responsible for the inhibition of the growth of drought-stressed ramie. In order to validate the change of expression of these potential stress-responsive TFs under water deficit condition, the unigene19721 and another eleven potential stress-responsive TFs were chosen for further expression analysis in well-watered and drought-stressed ramie by real-time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR) and the result showed that all 12 TFs were authentically involved in the response of drought stress.


In this study, twelve TFs involving in the response of drought stress were first found by Illumina tag-sequencing and qRT-PCR in ramie. The discovery of these drought stress-responsive TFs will be helpful for further understanding the drought stress-regulatory mechanism of ramie and improving the drought tolerance ability of ramie.

Ramie; Drought stress; Transcription factor; Illumina tag-sequencing; qRT-PCR