The WD40 gene family in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.): Genome-wide analysis and identification of anthocyanin and drought-related WD40s

Zhen Liu, Yuhui Liu, Jeffrey A. Coulter, Baoyun Shen, Yuanming Li, Chaozhou Li, Zhengpeng Cao, Junlian Zhang

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WD40 proteins, also known as WD40 domain proteins, constitute a large gene family in eukaryotes and play multiple roles in cellular processes. However, systematic identification and analysis of WD40 proteins have not yet been reported in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.). In the present study, 178 potato WD40 (StWD40) genes were identified and their distribution on chromosomes, gene structure, and conserved motifs were assessed. According to their structural and phylogenetic protein features, these 178 StWD40 genes were classified into 14 clusters and 10 subfamilies. Collinearity analysis showed that segmental duplication events played a major role in the expansion of the StWD40 gene family. Synteny analysis indicated that 45 and 23 pairs of StWD40 genes were orthologous to Arabidopsis and wheat (Triticum aestivum), respectively, and that these gene pairs evolved under strong purifying selection. RNA-seq data from different tissues and abiotic stresses revealed tissue-specific expression and abiotic stress-responsive StWD40 genes in doubled monoploid potato (DM). Furthermore, we further analyzed the WD40 genes might be involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis and drought stress in tetraploid potato cultivars based on RNA-seq data. In addition, a protein interaction network of two homologs of Arabidopsis TTG1, which is involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis, was constructed to identify proteins that might be related to anthocyanin biosynthesis. The result showed that there were 112 pairs of proteins interacting with TTG1, with 27 being differentially expressed in pigmented tissues. This study indicates that WD40 proteins in potato might be related to anthocyanin biosynthesis and abiotic stress responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number401
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The Research Program Sponsored by the Gansu Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars (17JR5RA138), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31601356 and 31860398), China Agriculture Potato Research System (CARS-09-P14), Special Funds for Discipline Construction of Gansu Agricultural University (GSAU-XKJS-2018-218), Gansu Provincial Key Laboratory of Aridland Crop Science, Gansu Agricultural University (No. GSCS-2017-2), the Program for Longyuan Innovation Teams of Gansu Province and Fuxi Talent Project of Gansu Agricultural University (Gaufx-02Y04).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Anthocyanin biosynthesis
  • Drought stress
  • Expression profiles
  • Potato (Solanum tuberosum)
  • WD40 protein


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