An Arabidopsis Transcriptional Regulatory Map Reveals Distinct Functional and Evolutionary Features of Novel Transcription Factors

Mol Biol Evol. 2015 Jul;32(7):1767-73. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msv058. Epub 2015 Mar 6.


Transcription factors (TFs) play key roles in both development and stress responses. By integrating into and rewiring original systems, novel TFs contribute significantly to the evolution of transcriptional regulatory networks. Here, we report a high-confidence transcriptional regulatory map covering 388 TFs from 47 families in Arabidopsis. Systematic analysis of this map revealed the architectural heterogeneity of developmental and stress response subnetworks and identified three types of novel network motifs that are absent from unicellular organisms and essential for multicellular development. Moreover, TFs of novel families that emerged during plant landing present higher binding specificities and are preferentially wired into developmental processes and these novel network motifs. Further unveiled connection between the binding specificity and wiring preference of TFs explains the wiring preferences of novel-family TFs. These results reveal distinct functional and evolutionary features of novel TFs, suggesting a plausible mechanism for their contribution to the evolution of multicellular organisms.

Keywords: network structure; novel family; transcription factor; transcriptional regulation; wiring preference.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / genetics*
  • Protein Binding
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Transcription Factors