Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Genome-wide Investigation and Expression Profiles of Heat Shock Transcription Factor (HSF) Gene Family in Maize (Zea mays L.) under Different Growth Stages and Abiotic Stress Conditions

Version 1 : Received: 5 September 2021 / Approved: 6 September 2021 / Online: 6 September 2021 (13:57:37 CEST)

How to cite: Haider, S.; Rehman, S.; Ahmad, Y.; Raza, A.; Tabassum, J.; Javed, T.; Osman, H.S.; Mahmood, T. Genome-wide Investigation and Expression Profiles of Heat Shock Transcription Factor (HSF) Gene Family in Maize (Zea mays L.) under Different Growth Stages and Abiotic Stress Conditions. Preprints 2021, 2021090102 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202109.0102.v1). Haider, S.; Rehman, S.; Ahmad, Y.; Raza, A.; Tabassum, J.; Javed, T.; Osman, H.S.; Mahmood, T. Genome-wide Investigation and Expression Profiles of Heat Shock Transcription Factor (HSF) Gene Family in Maize (Zea mays L.) under Different Growth Stages and Abiotic Stress Conditions. Preprints 2021, 2021090102 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202109.0102.v1).

Abstract

Heat shock transcription factors (HSFs) participate in regulating many environmental stress responses and biological processes in plants. Maize (Zea mays L.) is a major cash crop that is grown worldwide. However, the growth and yield of maize are affected by several adverse environmental inputs. Therefore, investigating the factors that regulate maize growth and development and resistance to abiotic stress is an essential task for developing stress-resilient maize varieties. Thus, a comprehensive genome-wide identification analysis was performed to identify HSFs in the maize genome. The current study identified 25 ZmHSFs, randomly distributed throughout the maize genome. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that ZmHSFs are divided into three classes and 13 sub-classes. Gene structure and protein motif analysis supported the results obtained through the phylogenetic analysis. Domain analysis showed the DNA-binding domain to be the most conserved region of ZmHSFs. Segmental duplication is shown to be responsible for the expansion of ZmHSFs. Most of the ZmHSFs are localized inside the nucleus, and the ZmHSFs which belong to the same group show similar physio-chemical properties. The 3D structures revealed comparable conserved ZmHSFs protein structures. RNA-seq analysis revealed a major role of class A HSFs including, ZmHSFA-1a and ZmHSFA-2a in all the maize growth stages, i.e., seed, vegetative, and reproductive development. Furthermore, ZmHSFs displayed an obvious spatiotemporal expression. Under abiotic stress conditions (heat, drought, cold, UV, and salinity), members of class A and B ZmHSFs are induced. Gene ontology (GO) annotation analysis indicated a major role of ZmHSFs in resistance to environmental stress and regulation of primary metabolism. Further, the protein-protein interaction analysis showed that ZmHSFs interact with several molecular chaperons and major stress-responsive proteins. To summarize, this study provides novel insights for functional studies on the ZmHSFs in maize breeding programs.

Keywords

abiotic stress; HSFs; genomics; gene ontology; maize breeding; protein 3D structures

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