Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 88, Issue 1, pp 19–39 | Cite as

Identification of the grape basic helix–loop–helix transcription factor family and characterization of expression patterns in response to different stresses

  • Min Gao
  • Yanxun Zhu
  • Jinhua Yang
  • Hongjing Zhang
  • Chenxia Cheng
  • Yucheng Zhang
  • Ran Wan
  • Zhangjun Fei
  • Xiping WangEmail author
Original Paper


Basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) proteins comprise one of the largest transcription factors (TFs) families in plants and members have been identified in model plant species, such as Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa. However, far less is known about the evolutionary history and expression patterns of bHLH proteins in woody species, such as grape (Vitis vinifera). In this study, we identified a total of 126 bHLH genes (VvbHLH) in grape genome, which were classified into 24 subfamilies based on the phylogenetic analysis included homologs from four plant species. The VvbHLH genes belonging to the same subfamilies have similar protein motifs and exon/intron structures and synteny analysis indicated that tandem and segmental duplication events have been major contributors to the expansion of the VvbHLH family. Synteny analysis between grape and A. thaliana suggested that some bHLH members shared a common ancestor. Expression analysis of 26 VvbHLH genes, representing members of the III and IV subfamilies, revealed profiles that were tissue-specific, hormone-responsive, and responsive to abiotic and biotic stresses. Taken together, the genome-wide identification and characterization of the grape bHLH TFs provide insights into their evolutionary history and represents a resource for further functional characterization in the context of crop improvement and stress tolerance.


Genome-wide Evolution bHLH transcription factor Phylogenetic analysis Expression Grape 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant No. 31572110 and the Program for Innovative Research Team of Grape Germplasm Resources and Breeding Grant No. 2013KCT-25 to X.W. We thank PlantScribe ( for editing this manuscript.

Author contributions

XW and MG: designed the study. MG, JY, HZ: contributed to the most of experiment. YZ, CC, RW: performed data analysis. YZ: assisted with the analysis of the results. XW and ZF: provided guidance on the study. MG and XW: wrote the manuscript. All of the authors approved the ultimate manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no competing interests in this paper, and the authors do not have any possible conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

10725_2019_485_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (3.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PPTX 3224 KB)
10725_2019_485_MOESM2_ESM.docx (28 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 27 KB)
10725_2019_485_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (68 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (XLSX 69 KB)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology in Arid Areas, College of HorticultureNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Biology and Germplasm Innovation in Northwest ChinaMinistry of Agriculture, Northwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  3. 3.Department of Plant Pathology, Institute of Food and Agricultural SciencesUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  4. 4.Boyce Thompson InstituteCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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