MADS box genes control vernalization-induced flowering in cereals.
ABSTRACT: By comparing expression levels of MADS box transcription factor genes between near-isogenic winter and spring lines of bread wheat, Triticum aestivum, we have identified WAP1 as the probable candidate for the Vrn-1 gene, the major locus controlling the vernalization flowering response in wheat. WAP1 is strongly expressed in spring wheats and moderately expressed in semispring wheats, but is not expressed in winter wheat plants that have not been exposed to vernalization treatment. Vernalization promotes flowering in winter wheats and strongly induces expression of WAP1. WAP1 is located on chromosome 5 in wheat and, by synteny with other cereal genomes, is likely to be collocated with Vrn-1. These results in hexaploid bread wheat cultivars extend the conclusion made by Yan et al. [Yan, L., Loukoianov, A., Tranquilli, G., Helguera, M., Fahima, T. & Dubcovsky, J. (2003) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100, 6263-6268] in the diploid wheat progenitor Triticum monococcum that WAP1 (TmAP1) corresponds to the Vrn-1 gene. The barley homologue of WAP1, BM5, shows a similar pattern of expression to WAP1 and TmAP1. BM5 is not expressed in winter barleys that have not been vernalized, but as with WAP1, expression of BM5 is strongly induced by vernalization treatment. In spring barleys, the level of BM5 expression is determined by interactions between the Vrn-H1 locus and a second locus for spring habit, Vrn-H2. There is now evidence that AP1-like genes determine the time of flowering in a range of cereal and grass species.
Project description:KEY MESSAGE:The combination of three non-functional alleles of the flowering repressor VRN2 results in a spring growth habit in wheat. In temperate cereals with a winter growth habit, a prolonged exposure to low temperatures (vernalization) accelerates flowering. Before vernalization, the VRN2 locus plays a central role in maintaining flowering repression. Non-functional VRN2 alleles result in spring growth habit and are frequent in diploid wheat and barley. However, in hexaploid wheat, the effect of these non-functional VRN2 alleles is masked by gene redundancy. In this study, we developed a triple VRN2 mutant (synthetic vrn2-null) in hexaploid wheat by combining the non-functional VRN-A2 allele present in most polyploid wheats with a VRN-B2 deletion from tetraploid wheat, and a non-functional VRN-D2 allele from Aegilops tauschii (Ae. tauschii) (the donor of hexaploid wheat D genome). Non-vernalized vrn2-null plants flowered 118 days (P < 2.8E-07) earlier than the winter control, and showed a limited vernalization response. The functional VRN-B2 allele is expressed at higher levels than the functional VRN-D2 allele and showed a stronger repressive effect under partial vernalization (4 °C for 4 weeks), and also in non-vernalized plants carrying only a functional VRN-B2 or VRN-D2 in heterozygous state. These results suggest that different combinations of VRN-B2 and VRN-D2 alleles can be a used to modulate the vernalization response in regions with mild winters. Spring vrn2-null mutants have been selected repeatedly in diploid wheat and barley, suggesting that they may have an adaptative value and that may be useful in hexaploid wheat. Spring wheat breeders can use these new alleles to improve wheat adaptation to different or changing environments.
Project description:Winter wheat requires a period of low temperatures to accelerate flowering (vernalization). This requirement could make winter wheat more vulnerable to elevated global temperature via insufficient vernalization. All known vernalization genes are cloned according to qualitative variation in vernalization requirement between spring and winter wheat, but the genes controlling quantitative variation for more or less vernalization requirement among winter wheat cultivars remain unknown. We report here that the gene for the vernalization requirement duration in winter wheat was cloned using a BC(1)F(2:3) population that segregated in a 3:1 ratio of early-flowering plants and late-flowering plants after vernalization for 3 weeks. The positional cloning of the gene for vernalization requirement duration demonstrated that this trait is controlled by TaVRN-A1 at the protein level. The Ala(180) in vrn-A1a, encoded by the dominant allele for 3-week vernalization, was mutated to Val(180) in vrn-A1b, encoded by the recessive allele for 6-week vernalization. Further studies with in vitro protein pull-down assays and immunoprecipitation analyses indicated that the mutated Val(180) in vrn-A1b protein decreased the ability to bind with TaHOX1 (the first homeobox protein in Triticum aestivum). The direct binding of TaVRN-A1 and TaHOX1 proteins was confirmed in the nucleus of living plant cells by bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) analyses. The TaHOX1 gene was found to be upregulated by low temperatures, and to have a significant genetic effect on heading date, suggesting that TaHOX1 functions in the flowering pathway in winter wheat.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Flowering time greatly influences the adaptation of wheat cultivars to diverse environmental conditions and is mainly controlled by vernalization and photoperiod genes. In wheat cultivars from the Yellow and Huai Valleys, which represent 60%-70% of the total wheat production in China, the large-scale genotyping of wheat germplasms has not yet been performed in terms of vernalization and photoperiod response alleles, limiting the use of Chinese wheat germplasms to a certain extent. RESULTS: In this study, 173 winter wheat cultivars and 51 spring wheat cultivars from China were used to identify allelic variations of vernalization and photoperiod genes as well as copy number variations of Ppd-B1 and Vrn-A1. Two new co-dominant markers were developed in order to more precisely examine Vrn-A1b, Vrn-B1a, and Vrn-B1b. Two novel alleles at the Vrn-B3 locus were discovered and were designated Vrn-B3b and Vrn-B3c. Vrn-B3b had an 890-bp insertion in the promoter region of the recessive vrn-B3 allele, and Vrn-B3c allele had 2 deletions (a 20-bp deletion and a 4-bp deletion) in the promoter region of the dominant Vrn-B3a allele. Cultivar Hemai 26 lacked the Vrn-A1 gene. RT-PCR indicated that the 890-bp insertion in the Vrn-B3b allele significantly reduced the transcription of the Vrn-B3 gene. Cultivars Chadianhong with the Vrn-B3b allele and Hemai 26 with a Vrn-A1-null allele possessed relatively later heading and flowering times compared to those of Yanzhan 4110, which harbored recessive vrn-B3 and vrn-A1 alleles. Through identification of photoperiod genes, 2 new polymorphism combinations were found in 6 winter wheat cultivars and were designated Hapl-VII and Hapl-VIII, respectively. Distribution of the vernalization and photoperiod genes indicated that all recessive alleles at the 4 vernalization response loci, truncated "Chinese Spring" Ppd-B1 allele at Ppd-B1 locus and Hapl-I at the Ppd-D1 locus were predominant in Chinese winter wheat cultivars. CONCLUSION: This study illustrated the distribution of vernalization and photoperiod genes and identified 2 new Vrn-B3 alleles, 1 Vrn-A1-null allele, and two new Ppd-D1 polymorphism combinations, using developed functional markers. Results of this study have the potential to provide useful information for screening relatively superior wheat cultivars for better adaptability and maturity.
Project description:Winter wheats require a long exposure to cold temperatures (vernalization) to accelerate flowering. However, varieties differ in the length of the period of cold required to saturate the vernalization response. Here we show that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) at the binding site of the GRP2 protein in the VRN-A1 first intron (henceforth, RIP3) are associated with significant differences in heading time after a partial vernalization treatment. The ancestral winter VRN-A1 allele in 'Triple Dirk C' has one SNP in the RIP3 region (1_SNP) relative to the canonical RIP3 sequence, whereas the derived 'Jagger' allele has three SNPs (3_SNPs). Both varieties have a single VRN-A1 copy encoding identical proteins. In an F2 population generated from a cross between these two varieties, plants with the 3_SNPs haplotype headed significantly earlier (P?<?0.001) than those with the 1_SNP haplotype, both in the absence of vernalization (17 days difference) and after 3-weeks of vernalization (11 days difference). Plants with the 3_SNPs haplotype showed higher VRN-A1 transcript levels than those with the 1_SNP haplotype. The 3_SNPs haplotype was also associated with early heading in a panel of 127 winter wheat varieties grown in three separate controlled-environment experiments under partial vernalization (36 to 54 days, P?<?0.001) and one experiment under field conditions (21 d, P?<?0.0001). The RIP3 polymorphisms can be used by wheat breeders to develop winter wheat varieties adapted to regions with different duration or intensity of the cold season.
Project description:Under the changing climate, early flowering is advantageous to escape terminal heat and drought. Previously during evaluation of 14 chromosome introgression lines (ILs), we found three ILs that flowered a month earlier than their wheat background Chinese Spring (CS). This paper describes the cause of the early flowering in the ILs and provides insight into the evolution of spring wheat from the winter wheat. We used specific molecular markers for Vrn genes to determine its allelic composition. Phenotypic evaluations carried out under field conditions and in a growth chamber. Unlike the winter vrn-A1 allele of CS, the spring Vrn-A1 allele of the ILs had insertions of 222 and 131-bp miniature inverted-repeat transposable element (MITE) in the promoter region. Sequence analysis indicated that the 222-bp insertion is similar to an insertion in the spring genotype, Triple Dirk D. Our results ruled out any possibility of outcrossing or contamination. Without vernalization, Vrn-A1 is highly expressed in the ILs compared to CS. We attribute the early flowering of the ILs to the insertion of the MITE in the promoter of Vrn-A1. The alien chromosome might mediate this insertion.
Project description:Winter wheat and barley varieties require an extended exposure to low temperatures to accelerate flowering (vernalization), whereas spring varieties do not have this requirement. In this study, we show that in these species, the vernalization gene VRN3 is linked completely to a gene similar to Arabidopsis FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT). FT induction in the leaves results in a transmissible signal that promotes flowering. Transcript levels of the barley and wheat orthologues, designated as HvFT and TaFT, respectively, are significantly higher in plants homozygous for the dominant Vrn3 alleles (early flowering) than in plants homozygous for the recessive vrn3 alleles (late flowering). In wheat, the dominant Vrn3 allele is associated with the insertion of a retroelement in the TaFT promoter, whereas in barley, mutations in the HvFT first intron differentiate plants with dominant and recessive VRN3 alleles. Winter wheat plants transformed with the TaFT allele carrying the promoter retroelement insertion flowered significantly earlier than nontransgenic plants, supporting the identity between TaFT and VRN-B3. Statistical analyses of flowering times confirmed the presence of significant interactions between vernalization and FT allelic classes in both wheat and barley (P < 0.0001). These interactions were supported further by the observed up-regulation of HvFT transcript levels by vernalization in barley winter plants (P = 0.002). These results confirmed that the wheat and barley FT genes are responsible for natural allelic variation in vernalization requirement, providing additional sources of adaptive diversity to these economically important crops.
Project description:Vernalization genes VRN1 play a major role in the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth in wheat. In di-, tetra- and hexaploid wheats the presence of a dominant allele of at least one VRN1 gene homologue (Vrn-A1,?Vrn-B1, Vrn-G1 or Vrn-D1) determines the spring growth habit. Allelic variation between the Vrn-1 and vrn-1 alleles relies on mutations in the promoter region or the first intron. The origin and variability of the dominant VRN1 alleles, determining the spring growth habit in tetraploid wheat species have been poorly studied.Here we analyzed the growth habit of 228 tetraploid wheat species accessions and 25 % of them were spring type. We analyzed the promoter and first intron regions of VRN1 genes in 57 spring accessions of tetraploid wheats. The spring growth habit of most studied spring accessions was determined by previously identified dominant alleles of VRN1 genes. Genetic experiments proof the dominant inheritance of Vrn-A1d allele which was widely distributed across the accessions of Triticum dicoccoides. Two novel alleles were discovered and designated as Vrn-A1b.7 and Vrn-B1dic. Vrn-A1b.7 had deletions of 20 bp located 137 bp upstream of the start codon and mutations within the VRN-box when compared to the recessive allele of vrn-A1. So far the Vrn-A1d allele was identified only in spring accessions of the T. dicoccoides and T. turgidum species. Vrn-B1dic was identified in T. dicoccoides IG46225 and had 11 % sequence dissimilarity in comparison to the promoter of vrn-B1. The presence of Vrn-A1b.7 and Vrn-B1dic alleles is a predicted cause of the spring growth habit of studied accessions of tetraploid species. Three spring accessions T. aethiopicum K-19059, T. turanicum K-31693 and T. turgidum cv. Blancal possess recessive alleles of both VRN-A1 and VRN-B1 genes. Further investigations are required to determine the source of spring growth habit of these accessions.New allelic variants of the VRN-A1 and VRN-B1 genes were identified in spring accessions of tetraploid wheats. The origin and evolution of VRN-A1 alleles in di- and tetraploid wheat species was discussed.
Project description:Vernalization genes determine winter/spring growth habit in temperate cereals and play important roles in plant development and environmental adaptation. In wheat (Triticum L. sp.), it was previously shown that allelic variation in the vernalization gene VRN1 was due to deletions or insertions either in the promoter or in the first intron. Here, we report a novel Vrn-B1 allele that has a retrotransposon in its promoter conferring spring growth habit. The VRN-B1 gene was mapped in a doubled haploid population that segregated for winter-spring growth habit but was derived from two spring tetraploid wheat genotypes, the durum wheat (T. turgidum subsp. durum) variety 'Lebsock' and T. turgidum subsp. carthlicum accession PI 94749. Genetic analysis revealed that Lebsock carried the dominant Vrn-A1 and recessive vrn-B1 alleles, whereas PI 94749 had the recessive vrn-A1 and dominant Vrn-B1 alleles. The Vrn-A1 allele in Lebsock was the same as the Vrn-A1c allele previously reported in hexaploid wheat. No differences existed between the vrn-B1 and Vrn-B1 alleles, except that a 5463-bp insertion was detected in the 5'-UTR region of the Vrn-B1 allele. This insertion was a novel retrotransposon (designated as retrotrans_VRN), which was flanked by a 5-bp target site duplication and contained primer binding site and polypurine tract motifs, a 325-bp long terminal repeat, and an open reading frame encoding 1231 amino acids. The insertion of retrotrans_VRN resulted in expression of Vrn-B1 without vernalization. Retrotrans_VRN is prevalent among T. turgidum subsp. carthlicum accessions, less prevalent among T. turgidum subsp. dicoccum accessions, and rarely found in other tetraploid wheat subspecies.
Project description:In wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), time from planting to spike emergence is influenced by genes controlling vernalization requirement and photoperiod response. Characterizing the available genetic diversity of known and novel alleles of VERNALIZATION1 (VRN1) and PHOTOPERIOD1 (PPD1) in winter wheat can inform approaches for breeding climate resilient cultivars. This study identified QTL for heading date (HD) associated with multiple VRN1 and PPD1 loci in a population developed from a cross between two early flowering winter wheat cultivars. When the population was grown in the greenhouse after partial vernalization treatment, major heading date QTLs co-located with the VRN-A1 and VRN-B1 loci. Copy number variation at the VRN-A1 locus influenced HD such that RIL having three copies required longer cold exposure to transition to flowering than RIL having two VRN-A1 copies. Sequencing vrn-B1 winter alleles of the parents revealed multiple polymorphisms in the first intron that were the basis of mapping a major HD QTL coinciding with VRN-B1. A 36 bp deletion in the first intron of VRN-B1 was associated with earlier HD after partial vernalization in lines having either two or three haploid copies of VRN-A1. The VRN1 loci interacted significantly and influenced time to heading in field experiments in Louisiana, Georgia and North Carolina. The PPD1 loci were significant determinants of heading date in the fully vernalized treatment in the greenhouse and in all field environments. Heading date QTL were associated with alleles having large deletions in the upstream regions of PPD-A1 and PPD-D1 and with copy number variants at the PPD-B1 locus. The PPD-D1 locus was determined to have the largest genetic effect, followed by PPD-A1 and PPD-B1. Our results demonstrate that VRN1 and PPD1 alleles of varying strength allow fine tuning of flowering time in diverse winter wheat growing environments.
Project description:Heading time is a major determinant of the adaptation of wheat to different environments, and is critical in minimizing risks of frost, heat, and drought on reproductive development. Given that major developmental genes are known in wheat, a process-based model, APSIM, was modified to incorporate gene effects into estimation of heading time, while minimizing degradation in the predictive capability of the model. Model parameters describing environment responses were replaced with functions of the number of winter and photoperiod (PPD)-sensitive alleles at the three VRN1 loci and the Ppd-D1 locus, respectively. Two years of vernalization and PPD trials of 210 lines (spring wheats) at a single location were used to estimate the effects of the VRN1 and Ppd-D1 alleles, with validation against 190 trials (~4400 observations) across the Australian wheatbelt. Compared with spring genotypes, winter genotypes for Vrn-A1 (i.e. with two winter alleles) had a delay of 76.8 degree days (°Cd) in time to heading, which was double the effect of the Vrn-B1 or Vrn-D1 winter genotypes. Of the three VRN1 loci, winter alleles at Vrn-B1 had the strongest interaction with PPD, delaying heading time by 99.0 °Cd under long days. The gene-based model had root mean square error of 3.2 and 4.3 d for calibration and validation datasets, respectively. Virtual genotypes were created to examine heading time in comparison with frost and heat events and showed that new longer-season varieties could be heading later (with potential increased yield) when sown early in season. This gene-based model allows breeders to consider how to target gene combinations to current and future production environments using parameters determined from a small set of phenotyping treatments.