CrusTF: A comprehensive resource of transcriptomes for evolutionary and functional studies of crustacean transcription factors

Jing Qin, Yaohua Hu, Ka Yan Ma, Xiaosen Jiang, Ching Hei Ho, Ling Ming Tsang, Lefei Yi, Ricky Wai Tak Leung, Ka Hou Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Crustacea, the second largest subphylum of Arthropoda, includes species of major ecological and economic importance, such as crabs, lobsters, crayfishes, shrimps, and barnacles. With the rapid development of crustacean aquaculture and biodiversity loss, understanding the gene regulatory mechanisms of growth, reproduction, and development of crustaceans is crucial to both aquaculture development and biodiversity conservation of this group of organisms. In these biological processes, transcription factors (TFs) play a vital role in regulating gene expression. However, crustacean transcription factors are still largely unknown, because the lack of complete genome sequences of most crustacean species hampers the studies on their transcriptional regulation on a system-wide scale. Thus, the current TF databases derived from genome sequences contain TF information for only a few crustacean species and are insufficient to elucidate the transcriptional diversity of such a large animal group. Results: Our database CrusTF ( ) provides comprehensive information for evolutionary and functional studies on the crustacean transcriptional regulatory system. CrusTF fills the knowledge gap of transcriptional regulation in crustaceans by exploring publicly available and newly sequenced transcriptomes of 170 crustacean species and identifying 131,941 TFs within 63 TF families. CrusTF features three categories of information: sequence, function, and evolution of crustacean TFs. The database enables searching, browsing and downloading of crustacean TF sequences. CrusTF infers DNA binding motifs of crustacean TFs, thus facilitating the users to predict potential downstream TF targets. The database also presents evolutionary analyses of crustacean TFs, which improve our understanding of the evolution of transcriptional regulatory systems in crustaceans. Conclusions: Given the importance of TF information in evolutionary and functional studies on transcriptional regulatory systems of crustaceans, this database will constitute a key resource for the research community of crustacean biology and evolutionary biology. Moreover, CrusTF serves as a model for the construction of TF database derived from transcriptome data. A similar approach could be applied to other groups of organisms, for which transcriptomes are more readily available than genomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number908
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2017


  • Crustacea
  • Evolution
  • Transcription factor
  • Transcriptional regulatory function
  • Transcriptome


Dive into the research topics of 'CrusTF: A comprehensive resource of transcriptomes for evolutionary and functional studies of crustacean transcription factors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this