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Isolation, classification and transcription profiles of the AP2/ERF transcription factor superfamily in citrus

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The AP2/ERF gene family encodes plant-specific transcription factors. In model plants, AP2/ERF genes have been shown to be expressed in response to developmental and environmental stimuli, and many function downstream of the ethylene, biotic, and abiotic stress signaling pathways. In citrus, ethylene is effective in regulation citrus fruit quality, such as degreening and aroma. However, information about the citrus AP2/ERF family is limited, and would enhance our understanding of fruit responses to environmental stress, fruit development and quality. CitAP2/ERF genes were isolated using the citrus genome database, and their expression patterns analyzed by real-time PCR using various orange organs and samples from a fruit developmental series. 126 sequences with homologies to AP2/ERF proteins were identified from the citrus genome, and, on the basis of their structure and sequence, assigned to the ERF family (102), AP2 family (18), RAV family (4) and Soloist (2). MEME motif analysis predicted the defining AP2/ERF domain and EAR repressor domains. Analysis of transcript accumulation in Citrus sinensis cv. ‘Newhall’ indicated that CitAP2/ERF genes show organ-specific and temporal expression, and provided a framework for understanding the transcriptional regulatory roles of AP2/ERF gene family members in citrus. Hierarchical cluster analysis and t tests identified regulators that potentially function during orange fruit growth and development.

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This research was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2011CB100602), the National Key Technology Research and Development Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2012BAD38B03) and the Program of International Science and Technology Cooperation (2011DFB31580).

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Correspondence to Xue-ren Yin.

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Xie, X., Shen, S., Yin, X. et al. Isolation, classification and transcription profiles of the AP2/ERF transcription factor superfamily in citrus. Mol Biol Rep 41, 4261–4271 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11033-014-3297-0

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  • AP2/ERF
  • Citrus
  • Fruit development
  • Gene expression
  • Organ specificity