Genome-wide identification of the AP2/ERF gene family involved in active constituent biosynthesis in Salvia miltiorrhiza

A. J. Ji, H. M. Luo, Z. C. Xu, X. Zhang, Y. J. Zhu, B. S. Liao, H. Yao, J. Y. Song, S. L. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Tanshinones and phenolic acids are the major bioactive constituents in the traditional medicinal crop Salvia miltiorrhiza; however, transcription factors (TFs) are seldom investigated with regard to their regulation of the biosynthesis of these compounds. Here a complete overview of the APETALA2/ethylene-responsive factor (AP2/ERF) transcription factor family in S. miltiorrhiza is provided, including phylogeny, gene structure, conserved motifs, and gene expression profiles of different organs (root, stem, leaf, flower) and root tissues (periderm, phloem, xylem). In total, 170 AP2/ERF genes were identified and divided into five relatively conserved subfamilies, including AP2 (25 genes), DREB (61 genes), ethylene responsive factor (ERF; 79 genes), RAV (4 genes), and Soloist (1 gene). According to the distribution of bioactive constituents and the expression patterns of AP2/ERF genes in different organs and root tissues, the genes related to the biosynthesis of bioactive constituents were selected. On the basis of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis, coexpression analysis, and the prediction of cis-regulatory elements in the promoters, we propose that two genes (Sm128 and Sm152) regulate tanshinone biosynthesis and two genes (Sm008 and Sm166) participate in controlling phenolic acid biosynthesis. The genes related to tanshinone biosynthesis belong to the ERF-B3 subgroup. In contrast, the genes predicted to regulate phenolic acid biosynthesis belong to the ERF-B1 and ERF-B4 subgroups. These results provide a foundation for future functional characterization of AP2/ERF genes to enhance the biosynthesis of the bioactive compounds of S. miltiorrhiza.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPlant Genome
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Genome-wide identification of the AP2/ERF gene family involved in active constituent biosynthesis in Salvia miltiorrhiza'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this