Phylogenetic analysis of F-bZIP transcription factors indicates conservation of the zinc deficiency response across land plants

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Basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors control important developmental and physiological processes in plants. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the three gene F-bZIP subfamily has been associated with zinc deficiency and salt stress response. Benefiting from the present abundance of plant genomic data, we performed an evolutionary and structural characterization of plant F-bZIPs. We observed divergence during seed plant evolution, into two groups and inferred different selective pressures for each. Group 1 contains AtbZIP19 and AtbZIP23 and appears more conserved, whereas Group 2, containing AtbZIP24, is more prone to gene loss and expansion events. Transcriptomic and experimental data reinforced AtbZIP19/23 as pivotal regulators of the zinc deficiency response, mostly via the activation of genes from the ZIP metal transporter family, and revealed that they are the main regulatory switch of AtZIP4. A survey of AtZIP4 orthologs promoters across different plant taxa revealed an enrichment of the Zinc Deficiency Response Element (ZDRE) to which both AtbZIP19/23 bind. Overall, our results indicate that while the AtbZIP24 function in the regulation of the salt stress response may be the result of neo-functionalization, the AtbZIP19/23 function in the regulation of the zinc deficiency response may be conserved in land plants (Embryophytes).

Original languageEnglish
Article number3806
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

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