[Abstract] ZAT (Zinc Finger of Arabidopsis thaliana) proteins are composed of a plant-specific transcription factor family, which play an important role in plant growth, development, and stress resistance. To study the potential function of ZAT family in cotton, the whole genome identification, expression, and structure analysis of ZAT gene family were carried out. In this study, our analysis revealed the presence of 115, 56, 59, and 115 ZAT genes in Gossypium hirsutum, G. raimondii, G. arboreum and G. barbadense, respectively. According to the number of domains and phylogenetic characteristics, we divided ZAT genes of four Gossypium species into 4 different clades, and further divided them into 11 subfamilies. The results of collinearity analysis showed that segmental duplication was the main method to amplify the cotton ZAT genes family. Analysis of cis-elements of promoters indicated that most GhZAT genes contained cis-elements related to plant hormones and abiotic stress. According to heatmap analysis, the expression patterns of GhZAT genes under different stresses indicated that GhZAT genes were significantly involved in the response to cold, heat, salt, and PEG stress, possibly through different mechanisms. Among the highly expressed genes, we cloned a G. hirsutum gene GhZAT67. Through virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS), we found that its expression level decreased significantly after being silenced. Under alkaline treatment, the wilting degree of silenced plants was even greater than the wild type, which proved that GhZAT67 gene was involved in the response to alkaline stress.
[Title] Zinc finger transcription factor ZAT family genes confer multi-tolerances in Gossypium hirsutum L.
[Authors] FAN Yapeng, ZHANG Yuexin, RUI Cun, XU Nan, ZHANG Hong, WANG Jing, MALIK Waqar Afzal, HAN Mingge, ZHAO Lanjie, LU Xuke, CHEN Xiugui, CHEN Chao & YE Wuwei
Journal of Cotton Research 2021, 4: 24