Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 November 2016
Drought and salinity are two major environmental factors limiting faba bean growth, leading to considerable reduction in their productivity. The WRKY gene family act as major transcription factors that might play an important role in abiotic stress tolerance. In the present study, two partial sequences sharing significant homology with known WRKY genes were isolated from faba bean by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification using degenerate primers targeting the well-conserved WRKY domain. The isolated WRKY gene fragments were designated as VfWRKY1 and VfWRKY2 showing 62% similarity between them. Sequence and phylogenetic analyses revealed that VfWRKY1 and VfWRKY2 belong to WRKY group I and could be grouped with their orthologues from other plant species. The gene expression profile of VfWRKY1 and VfWRKY2 in faba bean showed that they are significantly accumulated in various plant organs. Further, quantitative real-time PCR analysis showed that both transcripts were responsive to drought and salt stress, and also they are genotype dependent, meaning that different faba bean cultivars respond in a different way to drought and salt challenge. The expression patterns obtained suggest the important roles of VfWRKY1 and VfWRKY2 in drought and salt stress response and tolerance. This knowledge might be helpful in the identification of drought-tolerant cultivars and provide potential candidate markers for faba bean breeding in order to develop osmotic-stress-tolerant cultivars.