Insight into the bZIP Gene Family in Solanum tuberosum: Genome and Transcriptome Analysis to Understand the Roles of Gene Diversification in Spatiotemporal Gene Expression and Function.
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The basic region-leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors (TFs) form homodimers and heterodimers via the coil-coil region. The bZIP dimerization network influences gene expression across plant development and in response to a range of environmental stresses. The recent release of the most comprehensive potato reference genome was used to identify 80 StbZIP genes and to characterize their gene structure, phylogenetic relationships, and gene expression profiles. The StbZIP genes have undergone 22 segmental and one tandem duplication events. Ka/Ks analysis suggested that most duplications experienced purifying selection. Amino acid sequence alignments and phylogenetic comparisons made with the Arabidopsis bZIP family were used to assign the StbZIP genes to functional groups based on the Arabidopsis orthologs. The patterns of introns and exons were conserved within the assigned functional groups which are supportive of the phylogeny and evidence of a common progenitor. Inspection of the leucine repeat heptads within the bZIP domains identified a pattern of attractive pairs favoring homodimerization, and repulsive pairs favoring heterodimerization. These patterns of attractive and repulsive heptads were similar within each functional group for Arabidopsis and S. tuberosum orthologs. High-throughput RNA-seq data indicated the most highly expressed and repressed genes that might play significant roles in tissue growth and development, abiotic stress response, and response to pathogens including Potato virus X. These data provide useful information for further functional analysis of the StbZIP gene family and their potential applications in crop improvement.