Molecular characterization of stress-inducible GmNAC genes in soybean

Lam Son Phan Tran, Truyen N. Quach, Satish K. Guttikonda, Donavan L. Aldrich, Rajesh Kumar, Anjanasree Neelakandan, Babu Valliyodan, Henry T. Nguyen

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137 Scopus citations


Drought is detrimental to plant growth and development, and often results in significant losses to the yields of economically important crops such as soybeans (Glycine max L.). NAC transcription factors (TFs), which consist of a large family of plant-specific TFs, have been reported to enhance drought tolerance in a number of plants. In this study, 31 unigenes that contain the complete open reading frames encoding GmNAC proteins were identified and cloned from soybean. Analysis of C-terminal regulatory domain using yeast one-hybrid system indicated that among 31 GmNAC proteins, 28 have transcriptional activation activity. Expression analysis of these GmNAC genes showed that they are differentially expressed in different organs, suggesting that they have diverse functions during plant growth and development. To search for the drought-inducible GmNAC genes, we prescreened and re-confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR analysis that nine GmNAC genes are induced by dehydration stress with differential induction levels in both shoot and root. The expression profiles of these nine GmNAC genes were also examined under other stresses such as high salinity, cold and with abscisic acid hormone treatments. Phylogenetic analysis of the GmNAC proteins with previously reported drought-inducible NAC proteins of Arabidopsis and rice revealed that the nine drought-inducible GmNAC proteins belong to the "stress-inducible" NAC group. The results of this systematic analysis of the GmNAC family will provide novel tools and resources for the development of improved drought tolerant transgenic soybean cultivars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-664
Number of pages18
JournalMolecular Genetics and Genomics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Abiotic stress
  • Expression
  • Soybean
  • Transcription factors
  • Transcriptional activity


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