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Overall, 288 genes wereidentified as putative AP2/ERF genes in the sunflower genome. The predicted HaAP2/ERF(genericname and locus Tag has been showed in Table S in details) genes were then chosenbased on their chromosome location and family classification (Table S1). Basedon the classification, we are grouped of them into21 ANT, 14 AP2, 4 RAV, 1Soloist, 105 DREB, and 143ERF. 35 genes AP2 TFs contain two AP2 domains or asingle AP2 domain that is similar to the AP2 domains in the double domaingroups were assigned to the AP2 family, and 4 genes attracted a single AP2/ERFDNA binding motif together with a B3 type domain were grouped into the RAVfamily. The 248 genes have only one domino belonging to the ERF subfamily,which itself divides into subgroups of ERF and DREB.

In addition, a specificgene called HaAP2/ERF-288 has a similar resemblance to other familymembers that are in the subgroup Soloist (Table S2).Chromosome distributionanalysis found that theHaAP2/ERF genes were unevenly distributed on allof 17 chromosomes of sunflower (Fig. 1). In detail, 30 AP2/ERF genes located onthe chromosome 2 and 16 which have the maximum number of AP2/ERFs, while there were only 9genes on thechromosome5, which have the minimum number of AP2/ERFs.

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The putative proteinsof HaAP2/ERFs ranged from 78 to 1347 amino acids in length; withmolecular weights (MW) ranging from 8.52 to 69.44kDa and theoreticalisoelectric points (PI) ranging from 4.48 to10.27. Subcellular localization analysisindicated that majority of HaAP2/ERFs (234 out of 288, 81.

25 %)localized in the nucleus, while 54 genes were located in the extracellular(Table S1). Phylogenetic relationship, conservedmotif and gene structure analysis To assessthe evolutionary associations of the HaAP2/ERF genes, phylogeneticanalysis was performed based on the multiple correlation of all HaAP2/ERFwith the ArabidopsisAP2/ERF genes. The phylogenetic tree categorizes all of theAP2/ERF genes into three main categories (ERF, AP2 and RAV) depending on thecomposition of their amplitude as described above (Fig. 2). A non-rootedphylogenetic tree was made with HaAP2/ERF family proteins (Fig.

3). Inaddition, ERF clades were further divided into 10 groups. According to Arabidopsisclassificationcriteria6, ERFs families can be further subdivided into subgroup of DREBand ERF families. Four groups (I-IV) belong to the DREB, while the remainingsix groups (V-X) were ERF subgroups (Fig. 4). It was found that DREB subgroups aremajor contribute to plant abiotic stress responses, and many of the DREBs thathave been tolerated by stress from many plants have been recognized to date24,25,48.

Identification of DREB genes of Helianthus annuus provides valuableresources for the characterization of stress-response genes. In addition,bootstrapping values of the nodes in phylogenetic tree were not very high ineach class, which was consistent with earlier studies6,49. Thereliability of the NJ tree was confirmed

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