Genome-wide identification and characterization of WOX genes in Cucumis sativus.


Han N(1)(2)(3)(4), Tang R(1)(2)(3)(4), Chen X(1)(2)(3)(4), Xu Z(1)(2)(3)(4), Ren Z(1)(2)(3)(4), Wang L(1)(2)(3)(4).
Author information:
(1)State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, Tai'an, China.
(2)Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Horticultural Crops
(Huanghuai Region), Tai'an, China.
(3)Shandong Collaborative Innovation Center for Fruit and Vegetable Production with High Quality and Efficiency, Tai'an, China.
(4)College of Horticulture Science and Engineering, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai'an, China.


WUSCHEL-related homeobox (WOX) proteins are plant-specific transcription factors that are profoundly involved in regulation of plant development and stress responses. In this study, we totally identified 11 WOX transcription factor family members in cucumber (Cucumis sativus, CsWOX) genome and classified them into three clades with nine subclades based on phylogenetic analysis results. Alignment of amino acid sequences revealed that all WOX members in cucumber contained the typical homeodomain, which consists of 60-66 amino acids and is folded into a helix-turn-helix structure. Gene duplication event analysis indicated that CsWOX1a and CsWOX1b were a segment duplication pair, which might affect the number of WOX members in cucumber genome. The expression profiles of CsWOX genes in different tissues demonstrated that the members sorted into the ancient clade (CsWOX13a and CsWOX13b) were constitutively expressed at higher levels in comparison to the others. Cis-element analysis in promoter regions suggested that the expression of CsWOX genes was associated with phytohormone pathways and stress responses, which was further supported by RNA-seq data. Taken together, our results provide new insights into the evolution of cucumber WOX genes and improve our understanding about the biological functions of the CsWOX gene family.