Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 2; 7(1):14939. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13988-8.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinases (MAPKKKs), an important unit of MAPK cascade, play crucial roles in plant development and response to various stresses. However, little is known concerning the MAPKKK family in the important subtropical and tropical crop cassava. In this study, 62 MAPKKK genes were identified in the cassava genome, and were classified into 3 subfamilies based on phylogenetic analysis. Most of MAPKKKs in the same subfamily shared similar gene structures and conserved motifs. The comprehensive transcriptome analysis showed that MAPKKK genes participated in tissue development and response to drought stress. Comparative expression profiles revealed that many MAPKKK genes were activated in cultivated varieties SC124 and Arg7 and the function of MeMAPKKKs in drought resistance may be different between SC124/Arg7 and W14. Expression analyses of the 7 selected MeMAPKKK genes showed that most of them were significantly upregulated by osmotic, salt and ABA treatments, whereas slightly induced by H2O2 and cold stresses. Taken together, this study identified candidate MeMAPKKK genes for genetic improvement of abiotic stress resistance and provided new insights into MAPKKK -mediated cassava resistance to drought stress.