Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 429–443 | Cite as

Evolutionary and functional study of the CDPK gene family in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)

  • Ai-Li Li
  • Yuan-Fang Zhu
  • Xiao-Mei Tan
  • Xiang Wang
  • Bo Wei
  • Han-Zi Guo
  • Zeng-Lin Zhang
  • Xiao-Bo Chen
  • Guang-Yao Zhao
  • Xiu-Ying Kong
  • Ji-Zeng Jia
  • Long Mao


Calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs) are crucial sensors of calcium concentration changes in plant cells under diverse endogenous and environmental stimuli. We identified 20 CDPK genes from bread wheat and performed a comprehensive study on their structural, functional and evolutionary characteristics. Full-length cDNA sequences of 14 CDPKs were obtained using various approaches. Wheat CDPKs were found to be similar to their counterparts in rice in genomic structure, GC content, subcellular localization, and subgroup classification. Divergence time estimation of wheat CDPK gene pairs and wheat–rice orthologs suggested that most duplicated genes already existed in the common ancestor of wheat and rice. The number of CDPKs in diploid wheat genome was estimated to be at least 26, a number close to that in rice, Arabidopsis, and poplar. However, polymorphism among EST sequences uncovered transcripts of all three homoeologous alleles for 13 out of 20 CDPKs. Thus, the hexaploid wheat should have 2–3 fold more CDPK genes expressing in their cells than the diploid species. Wheat CDPK genes were found to respond to various biotic and abiotic stimuli, including cold, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), salt, drought, powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis tritici, Bgt), as well as phytohormones abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellic acid (GA). Each CDPK gene often responded to multiple treatments, suggesting that wheat CDPKs are converging points for multiple signal transduction pathways. The current work represents the first comprehensive study of CDPK genes in bread wheat and provides a foundation for further functional study of this important gene family in Triticeae.


CDPK Evolutionary Gene family Multiple stress responses Triticum aestivum L. 



Abscisic acid


Blumeria graminis tritici


Calcium-dependent protein kinase




Hydrogen peroxide


Million years ago


Nuclear localization signal



This work is supported in part by Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC, #30771336), National HITECH Research and Development Program of China (“863” program, #2006AA10A104), and National Basic Research Program of China (“973” program, #2004CB117200). We thank Drs. Franziska Turck and Bekir Ülker at Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding for providing C-GFP vector. We also thank Dr. Yongfu Fu for his help in vector construction and Mr. Charlse H. Leseberg’s critical reading of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ai-Li Li
    • 1
  • Yuan-Fang Zhu
    • 1
  • Xiao-Mei Tan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiang Wang
    • 1
  • Bo Wei
    • 1
  • Han-Zi Guo
    • 1
  • Zeng-Lin Zhang
    • 1
  • Xiao-Bo Chen
    • 1
  • Guang-Yao Zhao
    • 1
  • Xiu-Ying Kong
    • 1
  • Ji-Zeng Jia
    • 1
  • Long Mao
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.National Key Facility of Crop Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement (NFCRI), Key Laboratory of Crop Germplasm & BiotechnologyInstitute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences (CAAS)BeijingP.R. China
  2. 2.Colleage of Life SciencesSichuan Agricultural UniversityYa-anP.R. China
  3. 3.Institute of Crop Sciences & National Key Facility for Crop Gene Resources and Genetic ImprovementChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingP.R. China

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