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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Identification and characterization of CBL and CIPK gene families in canola (Brassica napus L.)

Hanfeng Zhang1, Bo Yang1, Wu-Zhen Liu1, Hongwei Li1, Lei Wang1, Boya Wang1, Min Deng1, Wanwan Liang1, Michael K Deyholos2 and Yuan-Qing Jiang1*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas and, College of Life Sciences, Northwest A & F University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China

2 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton T6G 2E9, Canada

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BMC Plant Biology 2014, 14:8  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-8

Published: 7 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Canola (Brassica napus L.) is one of the most important oil-producing crops in China and worldwide. The yield and quality of canola is frequently threatened by environmental stresses including drought, cold and high salinity. Calcium is a ubiquitous intracellular secondary messenger in plants. Calcineurin B-like proteins (CBLs) are Ca2+ sensors and regulate a group of Ser/Thr protein kinases called CBL-interacting protein kinases (CIPKs). Although the CBL-CIPK network has been demonstrated to play crucial roles in plant development and responses to various environmental stresses in Arabidopsis, little is known about their function in canola.

Results

In the present study, we identified seven CBL and 23 CIPK genes from canola by database mining and cloning of cDNA sequences of six CBLs and 17 CIPKs. Phylogenetic analysis of CBL and CIPK gene families across a variety of species suggested genome duplication and diversification. The subcellular localization of three BnaCBLs and two BnaCIPKs were determined using green fluorescence protein (GFP) as the reporter. We also demonstrated interactions between six BnaCBLs and 17 BnaCIPKs using yeast two-hybrid assay, and a subset of interactions were further confirmed by bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC). Furthermore, the expression levels of six selected BnaCBL and 12 BnaCIPK genes in response to salt, drought, cold, heat, ABA, methyl viologen (MV) and low potassium were examined by quantitative RT-PCR and these CBL or CIPK genes were found to respond to multiple stimuli, suggesting that the canola CBL-CIPK network may be a point of convergence for several different signaling pathways. We also performed a comparison of interaction patterns and expression profiles of CBL and CIPK in Arabidospsis, canola and rice, to examine the differences between orthologs, highlighting the importance of studying CBL-CIPK in canola as a prerequisite for improvement of this crop.

Conclusions

Our findings indicate that CBL and CIPK family members may form a dynamic complex to respond to different abiotic or hormone signaling. Our comparative analyses of the CBL-CIPK network between canola, Arabidopsis and rice highlight functional differences and the necessity to study CBL-CIPK gene functions in canola. Our data constitute a valuable resource for CBL and CPK genomics.

Keywords:
Abiotic stress; Brassica napus; CBL; CIPK