Genome-wide identification, evolution and expression analysis of mTERF gene family in maize

PLoS One. 2014 Apr 9;9(4):e94126. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094126. eCollection 2014.


Plant mitochondrial transcription termination factor (mTERF) genes comprise a large family with important roles in regulating organelle gene expression. In this study, a comprehensive database search yielded 31 potential mTERF genes in maize (Zea mays L.) and most of them were targeted to mitochondria or chloroplasts. Maize mTERF were divided into nine main groups based on phylogenetic analysis, and group IX represented the mitochondria and species-specific clade that diverged from other groups. Tandem and segmental duplication both contributed to the expansion of the mTERF gene family in the maize genome. Comprehensive expression analysis of these genes, using microarray data and RNA-seq data, revealed that these genes exhibit a variety of expression patterns. Environmental stimulus experiments revealed differential up or down-regulation expression of maize mTERF genes in seedlings exposed to light/dark, salts and plant hormones, respectively, suggesting various important roles of maize mTERF genes in light acclimation and stress-related responses. These results will be useful for elucidating the roles of mTERF genes in the growth, development and stress response of maize.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics
  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / classification
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Chloroplast Proteins / chemistry
  • Chloroplast Proteins / classification
  • Chloroplast Proteins / genetics
  • Chloroplast Proteins / physiology
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Gene Duplication
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / radiation effects
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Light
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / chemistry
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / classification
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / physiology
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Organ Specificity
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Growth Regulators / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / classification
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / physiology
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Protein Conformation
  • Salts / pharmacology
  • Seedlings / drug effects
  • Seedlings / growth & development
  • Seedlings / metabolism
  • Seedlings / radiation effects
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Species Specificity
  • Zea mays / drug effects
  • Zea mays / genetics*
  • Zea mays / growth & development
  • Zea mays / radiation effects


  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Chloroplast Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Plant Proteins
  • Salts

Grant support

This research was supported by Project No.91335205 supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China, the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (863 Program) (2012AA101104) and the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (2014CB138203). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.