Isolation and expression profiling of GhNAC transcription factor genes in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) during leaf senescence and in response to stresses.

PMID 24036432


NAC (NAM, ATAF, and CUC) is a plant-specific transcription factor family with diverse roles in plant development and stress regulation. In this report, stress-responsive NAC genes (GhNAC8-GhNAC17) isolated from cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) were characterised in the context of leaf senescence and stress tolerance. The characterisation of NAC genes during leaf senescence has not yet been reported for cotton. Based on the sequence characterisation, these GhNACs could be classified into three groups belonging to three known NAC sub-families. Their predicted amino acid sequences exhibited similarities to NAC genes from other plant species. Senescent leaves were the sites of maximum expression for all GhNAC genes except GhNAC10 and GhNAC13, which showed maximum expression in fibres, collected from 25 days post anthesis (DPA) plants. The ten GhNAC genes displayed differential expression patterns and levels during natural and induced leaf senescence. Quantitative RT-PCR and promoter analyses suggest that these genes are induced by ABA, ethylene, drought, salinity, cold, heat, and other hormonal treatments. These results support a role for cotton GhNAC genes in transcriptional regulation of leaf senescence, stress tolerance and other developmental stages of cotton.