Horticulture Research, Published online: 26 March 2014; | doi:10.1038/hortres.2014.16
The plant WRKY gene family represents an ancient and complex class of zinc-finger transcription factors (TFs) that are involved in the regulation of various physiological processes, such as development and senescence, and in plant response to many biotic and abiotic stresses. Despite the growing number of studies on the genomic organisation of WRKY gene family in different species, little information is available about this family in grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.). In the present study, a total number of 59 putative grapevine WRKY transcription factors (VvWRKYs) were identified based on the analysis of various genomic and proteomic grapevine databases. According to their structural and phylogentic features, the identified grapevine WRKY transcription factors were classified into three main groups. In order to shed light into their regulatory roles in growth and development as well as in response to biotic and abiotic stress in grapevine, theVvWRKYs expression profiles were examined in publicly available microarray data. Bioinformatics analysis of these data revealed distinct temporal and spatial expression patterns of VvWRKYs in various tissues, organs and developmental stages, as well as in response to biotic and abiotic stresses. To also extend our analysis to situations not covered by the arrays and to validate our results, the expression profiles of selected VvWRKYs in response to drought stress, Erysiphe necator (powdery mildew) infection, and hormone treatments (salicilic acid and ethylene), were investigated by quantitative real-time reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR). The present study provides a foundation for further comparative genomics and functional studies of this important class of transcriptional regulators in grapevine.