Genes & Genomics

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 17–33 | Cite as

Genome-wide identification of WRKY family genes and their response to abiotic stresses in tea plant (Camellia sinensis)

  • Pengjie Wang
  • Chuan Yue
  • Di Chen
  • Yucheng Zheng
  • Qian Zhang
  • Jiangfan YangEmail author
  • Naixing YeEmail author
Research Article


The WRKY transcription factors (TFs) family is one of the largest TF families in plants and plays a central role in diverse regulation and multiple stress responses. However, the systematical analysis of the WRKY gene family in tea plant (Camellia sinensis) based on genomic data has been lacking. The primary objective of this study was to set a systematic analysis of the WRKY gene family based on genomic data in tea plant and analyze their expression profiles under various abiotic stresses. We searched the tea plant genome using the consensus model of the WRKY domain (PF03106) and then used these search results to identify all the WRKY family members by SMART and the CDD program. Analyze their phylogeny, classification, structure, conserved motifs, Cis-elements, interactors and expression profiles. 56 putative WRKY genes were identified from the tea plant genome and divided into three main groups (I–III) and five subgroups (IIa–IIe) according to the WRKY domains and the zinc-finger structure. The gene structure and conserved motifs of the CsWRKY genes were also characterized and were consistent with the classification results. Annotation analysis showed that 34 CsWRKY genes may be involved in stress responses. Promoter analysis implied that CsWRKY genes, except for CsWRKY55, possessed at least one abiotic stress response cis-element. Expression profiles of CsWRKY genes in different tissues were analyzed with RNA-seq data. The results showed that 56 CsWRKY genes had differential expression in their transcript abundance. The expression profiles also showed that many identified CsWRKY genes were possibly involved in the response to cold, drought, salt, or ABA treatment. Tea plant genome contains at least 56 WRKY genes. These results provide useful information for further exploring the function and regulatory mechanism of CsWRKY genes in the growth, development, and adaption to abiotic stresses in tea plant.


Camellia sinensis WRKY Abiotic stresses Expression profiles 



This work was supported by the Fu jian Province “2011 Collaborative Innovation Center” Chinese Oolong Tea Industry Innovation Center (Cultivation) special project (J2015-75), The authors are grateful to the reviewers and editors for their helpful comments on this paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© The Genetics Society of Korea and Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Horticulture, Key Laboratory of Tea ScienceFujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityFuzhouChina

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