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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2023, Vol. 22 Issue (2): 371-388    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.08.091
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Identification, evolution, expression and protein interaction analysis of genes encoding B-box zinc-finger proteins in maize

XU Xiao-hui1*, LI Wen-lan3*, YANG Shu-ke1, ZHU Xiang-zhen2, SUN Hong-wei1, LI Fan1, LU Xing-bo1, CUI Jin-jie2

1 Shandong Key Laboratory of Plant Virology/Institute of Plant Protection, Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Jinan 250100, P.R.China

2 State Key Laboratory of Cotton Biology/Institute of Cotton Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Anyang 455000, P.R.China

3 Maize Research Institute, Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Jinan 250100, P.R.China

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The B-box (BBX) family of proteins consists of zinc-finger transcription factors with one or two highly conserved B-box motifs at their N-termini.  BBX proteins play crucial roles in various aspects of plant growth and development, including seedling photomorphogenesis, shade avoidance, flowering time, and biotic and abiotic stress responses.  Previous studies have identified many different BBXs from several plant species, although the BBX family members in maize are largely unknown.  Genome-wide identification and comprehensive analysis of maize BBX (ZmBBX) expression and interaction networks would therefore provide valuable information for understanding their functions.  In this study, 36 maize BBXs in three major clades were identified.  The ZmBBXs within a given clade were found to share similar domains, motifs, and genomic structures.  Gene duplication analyses revealed that the expansion of BBX proteins in maize has mainly occurred by segmental duplication.  The expression levels of ZmBBXs were analyzed in various organs and tissues, and under different abiotic stress conditions.  Protein–protein interaction networks of ZmBBXs were established using bioinformatic tools and verified by bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) assays.  Our findings can facilitate a greater understanding of the complexity of the ZmBBX family and provide novel clues for unravelling ZmBBX protein functions

Keywords:  maize       B-box family protein              evolution              expression              protein interaction  
Received: 24 June 2021   Accepted: 23 November 2021
Fund: This work was financially supported by grants from the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province, China (ZR2018LC005 and ZR2019BC107) and the Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Project of Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China (CXGC2022C02). 
About author:  Correspondence LU Xing-bo, E-mail:; CUI Jin-jie, E-mail: * These authors have contributed equally to this work.

Cite this article: 

XU Xiao-hui, LI Wen-lan, YANG Shu-ke, ZHU Xiang-zhen, SUN Hong-wei, LI Fan, LU Xing-bo, CUI Jin-jie. 2023. Identification, evolution, expression and protein interaction analysis of genes encoding B-box zinc-finger proteins in maize. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 22(2): 371-388.

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