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WRKY Transcription Factors: Evolution, Binding, And Action

X. Chen, C. Li, H. Wang, Zejian Guo
Published 2019 · Biology

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The WRKY transcription factor (TF) gene family expanded greatly in the evolutionary process from green algae to flowering plants through whole genome, segmental, and tandem duplications. Genomic sequences from diverse plant species provide valuable information about the origin and evolution of WRKY domain-containing proteins. Accumulating data indicate that WRKY TFs bind W-box and/or other cis-elements, revealing the specificity of cis-element recognition based on the structure of the WRKY protein as well as the nucleotides adjacent to the core sequences. Physical interactions among WRKY proteins or between WRKY proteins and other regulatory factors afford important insights into the regulation of this TF family. WRKY proteins are essential players in the kinase signaling network. The interaction of plant resistance (R) proteins with WRKY TFs and the existence of unusual chimeric R-WRKY proteins suggest diversity in signaling pathways for rapid immune responses. In this review, we focus mainly on progress in understanding the function of WRKY TFs in response to biotic stresses and focus on their multiple roles in Arabidopsis and rice plants.
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