Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 89, Issue 3, pp 251–258 | Cite as

Transcription factor TERF1 regulates nuclear genes expression through miRNAs in tobacco under drought stress condition

  • Wei Wu
  • Lili Liu
  • Yanchun YanEmail author
Original paper


Ethylene is an important phytohormone that regulates plant response to drought stress. ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR 1 (ERF1), a transcription factor of ERF/AP2 family, plays an important role in activating ethylene signaling pathway through binding the GCC box in the promoters of ethylene responsive genes. Although we know some protein-coding genes regulated by ERF1, we know nothing about how ERF1 regulates the expression of miRNAs. We utilized the tobacco overexpressing TOMATO ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR1 (TERF1), an ERF1 transcription factor isolated from tomato, to investigate the miRNAs expression profile under natural dehydration condition by method of qRT-PCR. Results show that 25 miRNAs are significantly induced and only 10 miRNAs are significantly repressed by TERF1. Binding sites for ERF transcription factors are observed in six upregulated miRNAs and the core genes involved in the processing of pre-miRNA are also significantly induced by TERF1. We predicted the target genes regulated by the differentially expressed miRNAs by the on-line programme of psRNATarget. Gene ontology (GO) analysis shows that the significantly enriched biological processes for the target genes regulated by the downregulated miRNAs are located in chloroplast. We also predicted the important regulatory genes regulated by the differentially expressed miRNAs, including transcription factors, kinases and phosphatases. Our research provides novel mechanism for regulation of nuclear genes expression by TERF1 at posttranscriptional level under drought stress condition.


Drought TERF1 miRNA Gene expression Chloroplast 









Gene ontology




Relative water content





We thank Prof. Rongfeng Huang for providing the gene of TERF1 for our research. This research received the support by grants from Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences Basal Research Fund (No. 1610042018006).

Author contributions

Wei Wu and Yanchun Yan participated in the design of the experiment. Wei Wu performed the experiment. Wei Wu and Lili Liu analyzed the data. Wei Wu write the manuscript and Yanchun Yan provide the final revision.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10725_2019_532_MOESM1_ESM.eps (51 kb)
Fig.S1. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) of genes involved in miRNA processing in WT and TERF1 tobacco under drought stress condition. Means ± SDs, n = 3; bars with * and ** are significantly different at 5 % and 1%, respectively. Supplementary material 1 (EPS 51 kb)
10725_2019_532_MOESM2_ESM.eps (38 kb)
Fig.S2. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) for FtsH2 and FtsH5 in WT and TERF1 tobacco under drought stress condition. Means ± SDs, n = 3; bars with * and ** are significantly different at 5 % and 1%, respectively. Supplementary material 2 (EPS 38 kb)
10725_2019_532_MOESM3_ESM.eps (54 kb)
Fig.S3. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis of miRNAs-regulated transcription factors and target genes in WT and TERF1 tobacco under drought stress condition. Means ± SDs, n = 3; bars with * and ** are significantly different at 5 % and 1%, respectively. Supplementary material 3 (EPS 53 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Beijing Key Laboratory of Fishery BiotechnologyBeijing Fisheries Research InstituteBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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