NAC domain transcription factors regulate many developmental processes and stress responses in plants and vary widely in number and family structure. We analysed the characteristics and evolution of the NAC gene family of Eucalyptus grandis, a fast-growing forest tree in the rosid order Myrtales. NAC domain genes identified in the E. grandis genome were subjected to amino acid sequence, phylogenetic and motif analyses. Transcript abundance in developing tissues and abiotic stress conditions in E. grandis and E. globulus was quantified using RNA-seq and reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). One hundred and eighty-nine E. grandis NAC (EgrNAC) proteins, arranged into 22 subfamilies, are extensively duplicated in subfamilies associated with stress response. Most EgrNAC genes form tandem duplicate arrays that frequently carry signatures of purifying selection. Sixteen amino acid motifs were identified in EgrNAC proteins, eight of which are enriched in, or unique to, Eucalyptus. New candidates for the regulation of normal and tension wood development and cold responses were identified. This first description of a Myrtales NAC domain family reveals an unique history of tandem duplication in stress-related subfamilies that has likely contributed to the adaptation of eucalypts to the challenging Australian environment. Several new candidates for the regulation of stress, wood formation and tree-specific development are reported.
Eucalypts are the world's most widely planted hardwood trees. Their outstanding diversity, adaptability and growth have made them a global renewable resource of fibre and energy. We sequenced and assembled >94% of the 640-megabase genome of Eucalyptus grandis. Of 36,376 predicted protein-coding genes, 34% occur in tandem duplications, the largest proportion thus far in plant genomes. Eucalyptus also shows the highest diversity of genes for specialized metabolites such as terpenes that act as chemical defence and provide unique pharmaceutical oils. Genome sequencing of the E. grandis sister species E. globulus and a set of inbred E. grandis tree genomes reveals dynamic genome evolution and hotspots of inbreeding depression. The E. grandis genome is the first reference for the eudicot order Myrtales and is placed here sister to the eurosids. This resource expands our understanding of the unique biology of large woody perennials and provides a powerful tool to accelerate comparative biology, breeding and biotechnology.
The current status of lignocellulosic biomass as an invaluable resource in industry, agriculture, and health has spurred increased interest in understanding the transcriptional regulation of secondary cell wall (SCW) biosynthesis. The last decade of research has revealed an extensive network of NAC, MYB and other families of transcription factors regulating Arabidopsis SCW biosynthesis, and numerous studies have explored SCW-related transcription factors in other dicots and monocots. Whilst the general structure of the Arabidopsis network has been a topic of several reviews, they have not comprehensively represented the detailed protein-DNA and protein-protein interactions described in the literature, and an understanding of network dynamics and functionality has not yet been achieved for SCW formation. Furthermore the methodologies employed in studies of SCW transcriptional regulation have not received much attention, especially in the case of non-model organisms. In this review, we have reconstructed the most exhaustive literature-based network representations to date of SCW transcriptional regulation in Arabidopsis. We include a manipulable Cytoscape representation of the Arabidopsis SCW transcriptional network to aid in future studies, along with a list of supporting literature for each documented interaction. Amongst other topics, we discuss the various components of the network, its evolutionary conservation in plants, putative modules and dynamic mechanisms that may influence network function, and the approaches that have been employed in network inference. Future research should aim to better understand network function and its response to dynamic perturbations, whilst the development and application of genome-wide approaches such as ChIP-seq and systems genetics are in progress for the study of SCW transcriptional regulation in non-model organisms.
NAC domain transcription factors initiate secondary cell wall biosynthesis in Arabidopsis fibres and vessels by activating numerous transcriptional regulators and biosynthetic genes. NAC family member SND2 is an indirect target of a principal regulator of fibre secondary cell wall formation, SND1. A previous study showed that overexpression of SND2 produced a fibre cell-specific increase in secondary cell wall thickness in Arabidopsis stems, and that the protein was able to transactivate the cellulose synthase8 (CesA8) promoter. However, the full repertoire of genes regulated by SND2 is unknown, and the effect of its overexpression on cell wall chemistry remains unexplored.
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