Identification of ERF genes in peanuts and functional analysis of AhERF008 and AhERF019 in abiotic stress response
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- Wan, L., Wu, Y., Huang, J. et al. Funct Integr Genomics (2014) 14: 467. doi:10.1007/s10142-014-0381-4
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Ethylene-responsive factor (ERF) play an important role in regulating gene expression in plant development and response to stresses. In peanuts (Arachis hypogaea L.), which produce flowers aerially and pods underground, only a few ERF genes have been identified so far. This study identifies 63 ERF unigenes from 247,313 peanut EST sequences available in the NCBI database. The phylogeny, gene structures, and putative conserved motifs in the peanut ERF proteins were analysed. Comparative analysis revealed the absence of two subgroups (A1 and A3) of the ERF family in peanuts; only 10 subgroups were identified in peanuts compared to 12 subgroups in Arabidopsis and soybeans. AP2/ERF domains were found to be conserved among peanuts, Arabidopsis, and soybeans. Outside the AP2/ERF domain, many soybean-specific conserved motifs were also detected in peanuts. The expression analysis of ERF family genes representing each clade revealed differential expression patterns in response to biotic and abiotic stresses. Overexpression of AhERF008 influenced the root gravity of Arabidopsis, whereas overexpression of AhERF019 enhanced tolerance to drought, heat, and salt stresses in Arabidopsis. The information generated in this study will be helpful to further investigate the function of ERFs in plant development and stress response.