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J Bioinform Comput Biol. 2016 Apr;14(2):1641009. doi: 10.1142/S0219720016410092.

Meta-analysis of transcriptome data identified TGTCNN motif variants associated with the response to plant hormone auxin in Arabidopsis thaliana L.

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* Department for Systems Biology, Institute of Cytology and Genetics SB RAS, 10 Lavrentyev Ave., Novosibirsk 630090, Russia.
† Laboratory of Computational Transcriptomics and Evolutionary Bioinformatics, Novosibirsk State University, 2 Pirogov Str., Novosibirsk 630090, Russia.


Auxin is the major regulator of plant growth and development. It regulates gene expression via a family of transcription factors (ARFs) that bind to auxin responsive elements (AuxREs) in the gene promoters. The canonical AuxREs found in regulatory regions of many auxin responsive genes contain the TGTCTC core motif, whereas ARF binding site is a degenerate TGTCNN with TGTCGG strongly preferred. Thereby two questions arise: which TGTCNN variants are functional AuxRE cores and whether different TGTCNN variants have distinct functional roles? In this study, we performed meta-analysis of microarray data to reveal TGTCNN variants essential for auxin response and to characterize their functional features. Our results indicate that four TGTCNN motifs (TGTCTC, TGTCCC, TGTCGG, and TGTCTG) are associated with auxin up-regulation and two (TGTCGG, TGTCAT) with auxin down-regulation, but to a lesser extent. The genes having some of these motifs in their regulatory regions showed time-specific auxin response. Functional annotation of auxin up- and down-regulated genes also revealed GO terms specific for the auxin-regulated genes with certain TGTCNN variants in their promoters. Our results provide an idea that various TGTCNN motifs may play distinct roles in the auxin regulation of gene expression.


Arabidopsis thaliana; AuxREs; Auxin response factor; bioinformatics; regulatory element; transcriptomics; whole-genome analysis

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