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Physiol Mol Biol Plants. 2017 Oct;23(4):779-791. doi: 10.1007/s12298-017-0476-1. Epub 2017 Oct 11.

Identification and expression profiling analysis of TCP family genes involved in growth and development in maize.

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National Engineering Laboratory of Crop Stress Resistance/Key Laboratory of Crop Biology of Anhui Province, School of Life Sciences, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, 230036 China.


The TCP family is a group of plant-specific transcription factors. TCP genes encode proteins harboring bHLH structure, which is implicated in DNA binding and protein-protein interactions and known as the TCP domain. TCP genes play important roles in plant development and have been evolutionarily and functionally elaborated in various plants, however, no overall phylogenetic analysis or expression profiling of TCP genes in Zea mays has been reported. In the present study, a systematic analysis of molecular evolution and functional prediction of TCP family genes in maize (Z. mays L.) has been conducted. We performed a genome-wide survey of TCP genes in maize, revealing the gene structure, chromosomal location and phylogenetic relationship of family members. Microsynteny between grass species and tissue-specific expression profiles were also investigated. In total, 29 TCP genes were identified in the maize genome, unevenly distributed on the 10 maize chromosomes. Additionally, ZmTCP genes were categorized into nine classes based on phylogeny and purifying selection may largely be responsible for maintaining the functions of maize TCP genes. What's more, microsynteny analysis suggested that TCP genes have been conserved during evolution. Finally, expression analysis revealed that most TCP genes are expressed in the stem and ear, which suggests that ZmTCP genes influence stem and ear growth. This result is consistent with the previous finding that maize TCP genes represses the growth of axillary organs and enables the formation of female inflorescences. Altogether, this study presents a thorough overview of TCP family in maize and provides a new perspective on the evolution of this gene family. The results also indicate that TCP family genes may be involved in development stage in plant growing conditions. Additionally, our results will be useful for further functional analysis of the TCP gene family in maize.


Expression; Maize; TCP; Transcription factor

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