TRAF Family from Maize

Required domains for TRAF family:PF00651

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The TNF receptor (TNFR) associated factor (TRAF) protein family is characterized by the presence of a conserved coiled-coil domain TRAF/MATH domain (for meprin and TRAF-C homology).  Typically, TRAFs are characterized by a TRAF domain at the C-terminal region, containing about 180 amino acids that form a fold of seven to eight anti-parallel β-strands that regulate protein processing and interaction. The TRAF domain is required for homo- or heterodimerization and interaction with receptor or cytoplasmic signaling proteins including transcription factors (TFs) (Ye et al., 1999, Park et al., 1999, Zheng et al., 2010, Dai et al., 2023).  

This family of proteins is present in plants but the biological role of relatively few plant TRAF proteins have been characterized. In Brassica rapa, MATH proteins have been grouped into six classes, whereas, in Arabidopsis thaliana and rice (Oryza sativa), they have been mainly clustered into four distinct groups, including MATH-only proteins, MATH-BPM proteins, MATH-UBP proteins, and MATH-PEARLI-4 proteins (Qi et al., 2021).

There are about 31 MATH-BTB (for BR-C, ttk and bab) genes in the maize (Zea mays) genome (Juranič et al., 2012). One of these maize proteins, MAB1 (ZmTRAF1), was was shown to be specifically expressed in both germ lineages and the zygote, and has been shown to regulate spindle length during meiosis as well as nuclei identity during the first asymmetric pollen mitosis (Juranič et al., 2012). A wider phylogenetic analysis of the expansion of the MATH-BTB gene family in the grasses reported that just 6 homologous genes in the model plant Arabidopsis while there is a general increase in grass lineages (Juranič et al., 2014).  In Arabidopsis the SEVEN IN ABSENTIA (SINA) clade of TRAF-like proteins has been implicated in proteasome-mediated regulation of transcription factors such as NAC1, CUC2, and AP2.  In rice, OsDIS1 has been identified as a negative regulator in the drought tolerance response.  Another study revealed that MATH-Domain Family members show a response toward abiotic stress in both Arabidopsis and Rice (Kushwaha et al., 2016)

Last updated June 2023 by John Gray


Park YC, Burkitt V, Villa AR, Tong L, Wu H. Structural basis for self-association and receptor recognition of human TRAF2. Nature. 1999 Apr 8;398(6727):533-8. doi: 10.1038/19110. PMID: 10206649.

Zheng C, Kabaleeswaran V, Wang Y, Cheng G, Wu H. Crystal structures of the TRAF2: cIAP2 and the TRAF1: TRAF2: cIAP2 complexes: affinity, specificity, and regulation. Mol Cell. 2010 Apr 9;38(1):101-13. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2010.03.009. PMID: 20385093; PMCID: PMC2855162.

Ye H, Park YC, Kreishman M, Kieff E, Wu H. The structural basis for the recognition of diverse receptor sequences by TRAF2. Mol Cell. 1999 Sep;4(3):321-30. doi: 10.1016/s1097-2765(00)80334-2. PMID: 10518213.

Dai Y, Ma S, Guo Y, Zhang X, Liu D, Gao Y, Zhai C, Chen Q, Xiao S, Zhang Z, Yu L. Evolution and Expression of the Meprin and TRAF Homology Domain-Containing Gene Family in Solanaceae. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 May 15;24(10):8782. doi: 10.3390/ijms24108782. PMID: 37240124; PMCID: PMC10218331.

Qi H, Xia FN, Xiao S, Li J. TRAF proteins as key regulators of plant development and stress responses. J Integr Plant Biol. 2022 Feb;64(2):431-448. doi: 10.1111/jipb.13182. Epub 2021 Dec 3. PMID: 34676666.

Juranič M, Srilunchang KO, Krohn NG, Leljak-Levanic D, Sprunck S, Dresselhaus T. Germline-specific MATH-BTB substrate adaptor MAB1 regulates spindle length and nuclei identity in maize. Plant Cell. 2012 Dec;24(12):4974-91. doi: 10.1105/tpc.112.107169. Epub 2012 Dec 18. PMID: 23250449; PMCID: PMC3556970.

Juranić M, Dresselhaus T. Phylogenetic analysis of the expansion of the MATH-BTB gene family in the grasses. Plant Signal Behav. 2014;9(4):e28242. doi: 10.4161/psb.28242. Epub 2014 Mar 10. PMID: 24614623; PMCID: PMC4091423.

Kushwaha HR, Joshi R, Pareek A, Singla-Pareek SL. MATH-Domain Family Shows Response toward Abiotic Stress in Arabidopsis and Rice. Front Plant Sci. 2016 Jun 28;7:923. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00923. PMID: 27446153; PMCID: PMC4923191.




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