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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(5), 1056; doi:10.3390/ijms18051056

Molecular Characterization and Expression Profiling of Tomato GRF Transcription Factor Family Genes in Response to Abiotic Stresses and Phytohormones

1
Department of Agricultural Industry Economy and Education, Sunchon National University, 413 Jungangno, Suncheon, Jeonnam 540-950, Korea
2
Department of Horticulture, Sunchon National University, 413 Jungangno, Suncheon, Jeonnam 540-950, Korea
3
Department of Horticultural Science, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 702-701, Korea
4
Department of Agricultural Education, Sunchon National University, 413 Jungangno, Suncheon, Jeonnam 540-950, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hikmet Budak
Received: 24 March 2017 / Revised: 7 May 2017 / Accepted: 9 May 2017 / Published: 13 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress and Gene Networks in Plants 2017)
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Abstract

Growth regulating factors (GRFs) are plant-specific transcription factors that are involved in diverse biological and physiological processes, such as growth, development and stress and hormone responses. However, the roles of GRFs in vegetative and reproductive growth, development and stress responses in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) have not been extensively explored. In this study, we characterized the 13 SlGRF genes. In silico analysis of protein motif organization, intron–exon distribution, and phylogenetic classification confirmed the presence of GRF proteins in tomato. The tissue-specific expression analysis revealed that most of the SlGRF genes were preferentially expressed in young and growing tissues such as flower buds and meristems, suggesting that SlGRFs are important during growth and development of these tissues. Some of the SlGRF genes were preferentially expressed in fruits at distinct developmental stages suggesting their involvement in fruit development and the ripening process. The strong and differential expression of different SlGRFs under NaCl, drought, heat, cold, abscisic acid (ABA), and jasmonic acid (JA) treatment, predict possible functions for these genes in stress responses in addition to their growth regulatory functions. Further, differential expression of SlGRF genes upon gibberellic acid (GA3) treatment indicates their probable function in flower development and stress responses through a gibberellic acid (GA)-mediated pathway. The results of this study provide a basis for further functional analysis and characterization of this important gene family in tomato. View Full-Text
Keywords: GRF gene; Solanum lycopersicum; organ-specific expression; fruit development; abiotic stress; phytohormone treatment GRF gene; Solanum lycopersicum; organ-specific expression; fruit development; abiotic stress; phytohormone treatment
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Khatun, K.; Robin, A.H.K.; Park, J.-I.; Nath, U.K.; Kim, C.K.; Lim, K.-B.; Nou, I.S.; Chung, M.-Y. Molecular Characterization and Expression Profiling of Tomato GRF Transcription Factor Family Genes in Response to Abiotic Stresses and Phytohormones. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1056.

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