Genome-wide identification and expression profiling of the COBRA-like genes reveal likely roles in stem strength in rapeseed (Brassica napus L.)

PLoS One. 2021 Nov 24;16(11):e0260268. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0260268. eCollection 2021.


The COBRA-like (COBL) genes play key roles in cell anisotropic expansion and the orientation of microfibrils. Mutations in these genes cause the brittle stem and induce pathogen responsive phenotypes in Arabidopsis and several crop plants. In this study, an in silico genome-wide analysis was performed to identify the COBL family members in Brassica. We identified 44, 20 and 23 COBL genes in B. napus and its diploid progenitor species B. rapa and B. oleracea, respectively. All the predicted COBL genes were phylogenetically clustered into two groups: the AtCOB group and the AtCOBL7 group. The conserved chromosome locations of COBLs in Arabidopsis and Brassica, together with clustering, indicated that the expansion of the COBL gene family in B. napus was primarily attributable to whole-genome triplication. Among the BnaCOBLs, 22 contained all the conserved motifs and derived from 9 of 12 subgroups. RNA-seq analysis was used to determine the tissue preferential expression patterns of various subgroups. BnaCOBL9, BnaCOBL35 and BnaCOBL41 were highly expressed in stem with high-breaking resistance, which implies these AtCOB subgroup members may be involved in stem development and stem breaking resistance of rapeseed. Our results of this study may help to elucidate the molecular properties of the COBRA gene family and provide informative clues for high stem-breaking resistance studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Brassica napus / genetics*
  • Diploidy
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Diseases / genetics
  • Plant Stems / genetics*
  • Transcriptome

Grant support

This research was funded by the Scientific Research Foundation of the Hunan Provincial Education Department (grant number: 20A261), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant number: 2017YFD0101702) and the Key Research and Development Program of Hunan Province (grant number: 2016JC2024). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.