Functional & Integrative Genomics

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 515–531 | Cite as

Genome-wide analysis of the Hsf gene family in Brassica oleracea and a comparative analysis of the Hsf gene family in B. oleracea, B. rapa and B. napus

  • Neeta Lohani
  • Agnieszka A. Golicz
  • Mohan B. Singh
  • Prem L. BhallaEmail author
Original Article


The global climate change-induced abiotic and biotic stresses are predicted to affect crop-growing seasons and crop yield. Heat stress transcription factors (Hsfs) have been suggested to play a significant role in various stress responses. They are an integral part of the signal transduction pathways that operate in response to environmental stresses. Brassica oleracea is one of the agronomical important crop species which consists of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprout, kohlrabi and kale. The identification and roles of Hsfs in this important Brassica species are unknown. The availability of whole genome sequence of B. oleracea provides us an opportunity for performing in silico analysis of Hsf genes in B. oleracea. Thirty-five putative genes encoding Hsf proteins were identified and classified into A, B and C classes. Their evolution, physical location, gene structure, domain structure and tissue-specific expression patterns were investigated. Further, a comparative analysis of the Hsf gene family in B. oleracea, B. rapa and B. napus highlighted the role of hybridisation and allopolyploidy in the evolution of the largest known Hsf gene family in B. napus. The presence of orthologous gene clusters, found in Brassica species, but not in A. thaliana, suggested that polyploidisation has resulted in the formation of new Brassica-specific orthologous gene clusters. Gene duplication analysis indicated that the evolution of the Hsf gene family was under strong purifying selection in these Brassica species. High-level synteny was observed within the B. napus genome. Conservation of physical location, the similarity of structure and similar expression profiles between the B. napus Hsf genes and the corresponding genes from B. oleracea and B. rapa suggest a high functional similarity between these genes. This study paves the way for further investigation of Hsf genes in improving stress tolerance in B. oleracea. The genes thus identified may be useful for developing crop varieties resilient to the global climate change.


Hsf genes Brassica Polyploidy Abiotic stress Heat stress 



This research was supported by Melbourne Bioinformatics at the University of Melbourne, project UOM0033. The research was supported by ARC Discovery grant DP0988972, the University of Melbourne McKenzie Fellowship and the University of Melbourne Research Scholarship.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Laboratory, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural SciencesUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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