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Identification and analysis of the chloride channel gene family members in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum)

Zhang, Hui, Jin, Jingjing, Jin, Lifeng, Li, Zefeng, Xu, Guoyun, Wang, Ran, Zhang, Jianfeng, Zhai, Niu, Chen, Qiansi, Liu, Pingping, Chen, Xia, Zheng, Qingxia, Zhou, Huina
Gene 2018 v.676 pp. 56-64
Nicotiana tabacum, antiporters, crops, eukaryotic cells, genes, metabolism, phylogeny, prokaryotic cells, protons, salt stress, sequence alignment, sequence homology, sodium chloride, tissues, tobacco
The chloride channel (CLC) protein family, which includes both chloride (Cl⁻) channels and chloride/proton (Cl⁻/H⁺) antiporters, is present in all domains of life, from prokaryotes to eukaryotes. However, there are no reported studies about this gene family in tobacco, an economically important global crop plant. In this study, we identified seventeen CLC genes in the genome of Nicotiana tabacum. A multiple sequence alignment showed that all of the predicted proteins shared a high sequence similarity and had a highly conserved GKxGPxxH motif. A gene structure analysis revealed that the NtCLC genes had highly divergent intron-exon patterns. A phylogenetic and conserved motif analysis revealed that the NtCLC family was divided into two clades, in a manner similar to other plants. We also evaluated the expression patterns of these NtCLC genes in different tissues and in plants treated with salt stress. The NtCLC genes had highly variable expression patterns, for example, the largely stem- and bud-specific expression patterns of NtCLC6 and NtCLC8, respectively. Salt stress treatment (300 mM NaCl) induced the expression of NtCLC2, NtCLC3, and NtCLC12, suggesting that these genes might play a role in tobacco responses to salt stress. Furthermore, the concentration of Cl⁻ in the NtCLC2- and NtCLC13-silenced plants showed an obvious lower and higher level, respectively, than the control plants. Thus, we indicated that NtCLC2 or NtCLC13 might play an important role in chloride transport or metabolism in tobacco. Together, these findings establish an empirical foundation for the further functional characterization of the NtCLC genes in tobacco.