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DNA Res. 2013 Oct;20(5):511-24. doi: 10.1093/dnares/dst027. Epub 2013 Jun 27.

The auxin response factor transcription factor family in soybean: genome-wide identification and expression analyses during development and water stress.

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1Signaling Pathway Research Unit, RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, 1-7-22, Suehiro-cho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 230-0045, Japan.


In plants, the auxin response factor (ARF) transcription factors play important roles in regulating diverse biological processes, including development, growth, cell division and responses to environmental stimuli. An exhaustive search of soybean genome revealed 51 GmARFs, many of which were formed by genome duplications. The typical GmARFs (43 members) contain a DNA-binding domain, an ARF domain and an auxin/indole acetic acid (AUX/IAA) dimerization domain, whereas the remaining eight members lack the dimerization domain. Phylogenetic analysis of the ARFs from soybean and Arabidopsis revealed both similarity and divergence between the two ARF families, as well as enabled us to predict the functions of the GmARFs. Using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and available soybean Affymetrix array and Illumina transcriptome sequence data, a comprehensive expression atlas of GmARF genes was obtained in various organs and tissues, providing useful information about their involvement in defining the precise nature of individual tissues. Furthermore, expression profiling using qRT-PCR and microarray data revealed many water stress-responsive GmARFs in soybean, albeit with different patterns depending on types of tissues and/or developmental stages. Our systematic analysis has identified excellent tissue-specific and/or stress-responsive candidate GmARF genes for in-depth in planta functional analyses, which would lead to potential applications in the development of genetically modified soybean cultivars with enhanced drought tolerance.


ARF transcription factor family; expression analysis; soybean; structural analysis; water stress

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