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The plant VQ motif-containing proteins are a recently discovered class of plant regulatory proteins interacting with WRKY transcription factors capable of modulate their activity as transcriptional regulators. The short VQ motif (FxxhVQxhTG) is the main element in the WRKY-VQ interaction, whereas a newly identified variable upstream amino acid motif appears to be determinant for the WRKY specificity. The VQ family has been studied in several species and seems to play important roles in a variety of biological processes, including response to biotic and abiotic stresses. Here, we present a systematic study of the VQ family in both diploid (Fragaria vesca) and octoploid (Fragaria x ananassa) strawberry species. Thus, twenty-five VQ-encoding genes were identified and twenty-three were further confirmed by gene expression analysis in different tissues and fruit ripening stages. Their expression profiles were also studied in F. ananassa fruits affected by anthracnose, caused by the ascomycete fungus Colletotrichum, a major pathogen of strawberry, and in response to the phytohormones salicylic acid and methyl-jasmonate, which are well established as central stress signals to regulate defence responses to pathogens. This comprehensive analysis sheds light for a better understanding of putative implications of members of the VQ family in the defence mechanisms against this major pathogen in strawberry.


José Garrido-Gala, José Javier Higuera, Juan Muñoz-Blanco, Francisco Amil-Ruiz, José L Caballero. The VQ motif-containing proteins in the diploid and octoploid strawberry. Scientific reports. 2019 Mar 20;9(1):4942

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PMID: 30894615

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