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Genome-wide analysis of basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors in Brachypodium distachyon

Xin Niu, Yuxiang Guan, Shoukun Chen, Haifeng Li.

BMC Genomics

DOI: 10.1186/s12864-017-4044-4

 

 

Abstract: Background: As a superfamily of transcription factors (TFs), the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins have been characterized functionally in many plants with a vital role in the regulation of diverse biological processes including growth, development, response to various stresses, and so on. However, no systemic analysis of the bHLH TFs has been reported in Brachypodium distachyon, an emerging model plant in Poaceae.

Results: A total of 146 bHLH TFs were identified in the Brachypodium distachyon genome and classified into 24 subfamilies. BdbHLHs in the same subfamily share similar protein motifs and gene structures. Gene duplication events showed a close relationship to rice, maize and sorghum, and segment duplications might play a key role in the expansion of this gene family. The amino acid sequence of the bHLH domains were quite conservative, especially Leu-27 and Leu-54. Based on the predicted binding activities, the BdbHLHs were divided into DNA binding and non-DNA binding types. According to the gene ontology (GO) analysis, BdbHLHs were speculated to function in homodimer or heterodimer manner. By integrating the available high throughput data in public database and results of quantitative RT-PCR, we found the expression profiles of BdbHLHs were different, implying their differentiated functions.

Conclusion: One hundred fourty-six BdbHLHs were identified and their conserved domains, sequence features, phylogenetic relationship, chromosomal distribution, GO annotations, gene structures, gene duplication and expression profiles were investigated. Our findings lay a foundation for further evolutionary and functional elucidation of BdbHLH genes.