J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2017, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (2): 86-101.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12513

Special Issue: Abiotic Stresses

• Invited Expert Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

WRKY transcription factors in plant responses to stresses

Jingjing Jiang1*, Shenghui Ma1,2, Nenghui Ye1, Ming Jiang3, Jiashu Cao2* and Jianhua Zhang1,4   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology Shenzhen Base, Shenzhen Research Institute, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen 518057, China
    2Laboratory of Cell & Molecular Biology, Institute of Vegetable Science, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
    3Ecology Key Discipline of Zhejiang Province, College of Life Science, Taizhou University, Jiaojiang 318000, China
    4School of Life Sciences and State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  • Received:2016-09-16 Accepted:2016-12-16 Published:2017-02-16
  • About author:**Correspondences: E-mail: Jingjing Jiang (jjj8502@gmail.com)(Dr. Jiang is is fully responsible for the distribution of all materials associated with this article), Jiashu Cao (jshcao@zju.edu.cn)


The WRKY gene family is among the largest families of transcription factors (TFs) in higher plants. By regulating the plant hormone signal transduction pathway, these TFs play critical roles in some plant processes in response to biotic and abiotic stress. Various bodies of research have demonstrated the important biological functions of WRKY TFs in plant response to different kinds of biotic and abiotic stresses and working mechanisms. However, very little summarization has been done to review their research progress. Not just important TFs function in plant response to biotic and abiotic stresses, WRKY also participates in carbohydrate synthesis, senescence, development, and secondary metabolites synthesis. WRKY proteins can bind to W-box (TGACC (A/T)) in the promoter of its target genes and activate or repress the expression of downstream genes to regulate their stress response. Moreover, WRKY proteins can interact with other TFs to regulate plant defensive responses. In the present review, we focus on the structural characteristics of WRKY TFs and the research progress on their functions in plant responses to a variety of stresses.

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