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Functions and Application of the AP2/ERF Transcription Factor Family in Crop Improvement

Zhao-Shi Xu,Ming Chen,Lian-Cheng Li and You-Zhi Ma~* National Key Facility of Crop Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement(NFCRI),Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Breeding,Ministry of Agriculture,Institute of Crop Science,Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences(CAAS),Beijing 100081,China  
Plants have acquired sophisticated stress response systems to adapt to changing environments.It is important to understand plants' stress response mechanisms in the effort to improve crop productivity under stressful conditions.The AP2/ERF transcription factors are known to regulate diverse processes of plant development and stress responses. In this study,the molecular characteristics and biological functions of AP2/ERFs in a variety of plant species were analyzed.AP2/ERFs, especially those in DREB and ERF subfamilies,are ideal candidates for crop improvement because their overexpression enhances tolerances to drought,salt,freezing,as well as resistances to multiple diseases in the transgenic plants.The comprehensive analysis of physiological functions is useful in elucidating the biological roles of AP2/ERF family genes in gene interaction,pathway regulation,and defense response under stress environments,which should provide new opportunities for the crop tolerance engineering.
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