Comparative Analysis of Ethylene Response Factors (ERF1, ERF2) in Three Zoysiagrasses

Chetan  Kaur1   Young-Sun  Kim2,3   Geung-Joo  Lee1,4,*   

1Department of Horticulture, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea
2Division of Life and Environmental Science, Daegu University, Gyeongsan 38453, Korea
3Institute of Natural Sciences, Daegu University, Gyeongsan 38453, Korea
4Department of Smart Agriculture Systems, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea


The APETALA2/ethylene response factor (AP2/ERF) gene family is known to play a key role in the regulating expression of several genes in response to biotic and abiotic stress, conferring an evolutionary advantage to plants. In zoysiagrass, the genetic information of the ERF transcription factors (TF) is limited, leading to gaps in our understanding of the differential response of the zoysiagrasses to external stimuli. In this study, ERF1/2 genes in Zoysia matrella and Z. pacifica were predicted. We present a comparative study of the ERF1/2 TF among the three Zoysia species, with an overview of their putative gene structures, phylogeny, conserved motifs, and putative protein structure. Our study revealed one ERF1 and ERF2 TF in Z. pacifica, but Z. matrella had two copies of each ERF1 and ERF2 TF genes. All the ERF1 genes had no introns, while the ERF2 genes exhibited one intron. One AP2/ERF domain was predicted in all the ERF TF genes. Within the AP2 conserved domain of the four Zoysia ERF1 genes, a single amino acid substitution (Ala64 → Thr64), as a result of a missense mutation (GCC to ACC) was seen to affect the active ligand- binding site in the GCC-box-domain. The analysis of the upstream regulatory region of the ERF1/2 revealed transcriptional binding motifs linked to regulate the response of ERF genes to abiotic and biotic stresses.

Figures & Tables

Fig. 1. Phylogenetic relationship of ERF transcription factor genes among the three zoysiagrasses using maximum likelihood method with 500 bootstrap replications. The blue boxes represent AP2 domain, black lines represent exons and dotted lines represent introns. ERF: Ethylene Response Factor; AP2: APETALA2; Zj: ; Zm: ; Zp: .