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Genet Mol Biol. 2012 Jun;35(1 (suppl)):233-46. doi: 10.1590/S1415-47572012000200005.

Identification and in silico characterization of soybean trihelix-GT and bHLH transcription factors involved in stress responses.

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Programa de Pós-Graduação em Genética e Biologia Molecular, Departamento de Genética, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.


Environmental stresses caused by either abiotic or biotic factors greatly affect agriculture. As for soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merril], one of the most important crop species in the world, the situation is not different. In order to deal with these stresses, plants have evolved a variety of sophisticated molecular mechanisms, to which the transcriptional regulation of target-genes by transcription factors is crucial. Even though the involvement of several transcription factor families has been widely reported in stress response, there still is a lot to be uncovered, especially in soybean. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the role of bHLH and trihelix-GT transcription factors in soybean responses to environmental stresses. Gene annotation, data mining for stress response, and phylogenetic analysis of members from both families are presented herein. At least 45 bHLH (from subgroup 25) and 63 trihelix-GT putative genes reside in the soybean genome. Among them, at least 14 bHLH and 11 trihelix-GT seem to be involved in responses to abiotic/biotic stresses. Phylogenetic analysis successfully clustered these with members from other plant species. Nevertheless, bHLH and trihelix-GT genes encompass almost three times more members in soybean than in Arabidopsis or rice, with many of these grouping into new clades with no apparent near orthologs in the other analyzed species. Our results represent an important step towards unraveling the functional roles of plant bHLH and trihelix-GT transcription factors in response to environmental cues.


Glycine max; drought; gene expression; phylogeny; plant-microbe interactions

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