A tillering inhibition gene influences root-shoot carbon partitioning and pattern of water use to improve wheat productivity in rainfed environments.
ABSTRACT: Genetic modification of shoot and root morphology has potential to improve water and nutrient uptake of wheat crops in rainfed environments. Near-isogenic lines (NILs) varying for a tillering inhibition (tin) gene and representing multiple genetic backgrounds were phenotyped in contrasting, controlled environments for shoot and root growth. Leaf area, shoot and root biomass were similar until tillering, whereupon reduced tillering in tin-containing NILs produced reductions of up to 60% in total leaf area and biomass, and increases in total root length of up to 120% and root biomass to 145%. Together, the root-to-shoot ratio increased two-fold with the tin gene. The influence of tin on shoot and root growth was greatest in the cv. Banks genetic background, particularly in the biculm-selected NIL, and was typically strongest in cooler environments. A separate de-tillering study confirmed greater root-to-shoot ratios with regular tiller removal in non-tin-containing genotypes. In validating these observations in a rainfed field study, the tin allele had a negligible effect on seedling growth but was associated with significantly (P<0.05) reduced tiller number (-37%), leaf area index (-26%), and spike number (-35%) to reduce plant biomass (-19%) at anthesis. Root biomass, root-to-shoot ratio at early stem elongation, and root depth at maturity were all increased in tin-containing NILs. Soil water use was slowed in tin-containing NILs, resulting in greater water availability, greater stomatal conductance, cooler canopy temperatures, and maintenance of green leaf area during grain-filling. Together these effects contributed to increases in harvest index and grain yield. In both the controlled and field environments, the tin gene was commonly associated with increased root length and biomass, but the significant influence of genetic background and environment suggests careful assessment of tin-containing progeny in selection for genotypic increases in root growth.
Project description:The tiller inhibition gene (tin) that reduces tillering in wheat (Triticum aestivum) is also associated with large spikes, increased grain weight, and thick leaves and stems. In this study, comparison of near-isogenic lines (NILs) revealed changes in stem morphology, cell wall composition, and stem strength. Microscopic analysis of stem cross-sections and chemical analysis of stem tissue indicated that cell walls in tin lines were thicker and more lignified than in free-tillering NILs. Increased lignification was associated with stronger stems in tin plants. A candidate gene for tin was identified through map-based cloning and was predicted to encode a cellulose synthase-like (Csl) protein with homology to members of the CslA clade. Dinucleotide repeat-length polymorphism in the 5'UTR region of the Csl gene was associated with tiller number in diverse wheat germplasm and linked to expression differences of Csl transcripts between NILs. We propose that regulation of Csl transcript and/or protein levels affects carbon partitioning throughout the plant, which plays a key role in the tin phenotype.
Project description:Despite general agreement regarding the adaptive importance of plasticity, evidence for the role of environmental resource availability in plants is scarce. In arid and semi-arid environments, the persistence and dominance of perennial species depends on their capacity to tolerate drought: tolerance could be given on one extreme by fixed traits and, on the other, by plastic traits. To understand drought tolerance of species it is necessary to know the plasticity of their water economy-related traits, i.e. the position in the fixed-plastic continuum.Three conspicuous co-existing perennial grasses from a Patagonian steppe were grown under controlled conditions with four levels of steady-state water availability. Evaluated traits were divided into two groups. The first was associated with potential plant performance and correlated with fitness, and included above-ground biomass, total biomass, tillering and tiller density at harvest. The second group consisted of traits associated with mechanisms of plant adjustment to environmental changes and included root biomass, shoot/root ratio, tiller biomass, length of total elongated leaf, length of yellow tissue divided by time and ﬁnal length divided by the time taken to reach ﬁnal length.The most plastic species along this drought gradient was the most sensitive to drought, whereas the least plastic and slowest growing was the most tolerant. This negative relationship between tolerance and plasticity was true for fitness-related traits but was trait-dependent for underlying traits. Remarkably, the most tolerant species had the highest positive plasticity (i.e. opposite to the default response to stress) in an underlying trait, directly explaining its drought resistance: it increased absolute root biomass. The niche differentiation axis that allows the coexistence of species in this group of perennial dryland grasses, all limited by soil surface moisture, would be a functional one of fixed versus plastic responses.
Project description:Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.; family Poaceae) is a warm-season C4 perennial grass. Tillering plays an important role in determining the morphology of aboveground parts and the final biomass yield of switchgrass. Auxin distribution in plants can affect a variety of important growth and developmental processes, including the regulation of shoot and root branching, plant resistance and biological yield. Auxin transport and gradients in plants are mediated by influx and efflux carriers. PvPIN1, a switchgrass PIN1-like gene that is involved in regulating polar transport, is a putative auxin efflux carrier. Neighbor-joining analysis using sequences deposited in NCBI databases showed that the PvPIN1gene belongs to the PIN1 family and is evolutionarily closer to the Oryza sativa japonica group. Tiller emergence and development was significantly promoted in plants subjected toPvPIN1 RNA interference (RNAi), which yielded a phenotype similar to that of wild-type plants treated with the auxin transport inhibitor TIBA (2,3,5-triiodobenzoic acid). A transgenic approach that inducedPvPIN1 gene overexpression or suppression altered tiller number and the shoot/root ratio. These data suggest that PvPIN1plays an important role in auxin-dependent adventitious root emergence and tillering.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Understanding root system morphology in bread wheat is critical for identifying root traits to breed cultivars with improved resource uptake and better adaptation to adverse environments. Variability in root morphological traits at early vegetative stages was examined among 184 bread wheat genotypes originating from 37 countries grown in a semi-hydroponic phenotyping system. RESULTS:At the onset of tillering (Z2.1, 35?days after transplanting), plants had up to 42?cm in shoot height and 158?cm long in root depth. Phenotypic variation existed for both shoot and root traits, with a maximal 4.3-fold difference in total root length and 5-fold difference in root dry mass among the 184 genotypes. Of the 41 measured traits, 24 root traits and four shoot traits had larger coefficients of variation (CV???0.25). Strong positive correlations were identified for some key root traits (i.e., root mass, root length, and these parameters at different depths) and shoot traits (i.e., shoot mass and tiller number) (P???0.05). The selected 25 global traits (at whole-plant level) contributed to one of the five principal components (eigenvalues>?1) capturing 83.0% of the total variability across genotypes. Agglomerative hierarchical clustering analysis separated the 184 genotypes into four (at a rescaled distance of 15) or seven (at a rescaled distance of 10) major groups based on the same set of root traits. Strong relationships between performance traits (dry mass) with several functional traits such as specific root length, root length intensity and root tissue density suggest their linkage to plant growth and fitness strategies. CONCLUSIONS:Large phenotypic variability in root system morphology in wheat genotypes was observed at the tillering stage using established semi-hydroponic phenotyping techniques. Phenotypic differences in and trait correlations among some interesting root traits may be considered for breeding wheat cultivars with efficient water acquisition and better adaptation to abiotic stress.
Project description:BACKGROUND: There was ancient human selection on the wild progenitor of modern maize, Balsas teosinte, for decreased shoot branching (tillering), in order to allow more nutrients to be diverted to grain. Mechanistically, the decline in shoot tillering has been associated with selection for increased expression of the major domestication gene Teosinte Branched 1 (Tb1) in shoot primordia. Therefore, TB1 has been defined as a repressor of shoot branching. It is known that plants respond to changes in shoot size by compensatory changes in root growth and architecture. However, it has not been reported whether altered TB1 expression affects any plant traits below ground. Previously, changes in dosage of a well-studied mutant allele of Tb1 in modern maize, called tb1-ref, from one to two copies, was shown to increase tillering. As a result, plants with two copies of the tb1-ref allele have a larger shoot biomass than heterozygotes. Here we used aeroponics to phenotype the effects of tb1-ref copy number on maize roots at macro-, meso- and micro scales of development. RESULTS: An increase in the tb1-ref copy number from one to two copies resulted in: (1) an increase in crown root number due to the cumulative initiation of crown roots from successive tillers; (2) higher density of first and second order lateral roots; and (3) reduced average lateral root length. The resulting increase in root system biomass in homozygous tb1-ref mutants balanced the increase in shoot biomass caused by enhanced tillering. These changes caused homozygous tb1-ref mutants of modern maize to more closely resemble its ancestor Balsas teosinte below ground. CONCLUSION: We conclude that a decrease in TB1 function in maize results in a larger root system, due to an increase in the number of crown roots and lateral roots. Given that decreased TB1 expression results in a more highly branched and larger shoot, the impact of TB1 below ground may be direct or indirect. We discuss the potential implications of these findings for whole plant coordination of biomass accumulation and maize domestication.
Project description:Reducing nitrogen (N) input is a key measure to achieve a sustainable rice production in China, especially in Jiangsu Province. Tiller is the basis for achieving panicle number that plays as a major factor in the yield determination. In actual production, excessive N is often applied in order to produce enough tillers in the early stages. Understanding how N regulates tillering in rice plants is critical to generate an integrative management to reduce N use and reaching tiller number target. Aiming at this objective, we utilized RNA sequencing and weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) to compare the transcriptomes surrounding the shoot apical meristem of indica (Yangdao6, YD6) and japonica (Nipponbare, NPB) rice subspecies. Our results showed that N rate influenced tiller number in a different pattern between the two varieties, with NPB being more sensitive to N enrichment, and YD6 being more tolerant to high N rate. Tiller number was positively related to N content in leaf, culm and root tissue, but negatively related to the soluble carbohydrate content, regardless of variety. Transcriptomic comparisons revealed that for YD6 when N rate enrichment from low (LN) to medium (MN), it caused 115 DEGs (LN vs. MN), from MN to high level (HN) triggered 162 DEGs (MN vs. HN), but direct comparison of low with high N rate showed a 511 DEGs (LN vs. HN). These numbers of DEG in NPB were 87 (LN vs. MN), 40 (MN vs. HN), and 148 (LN vs. HN). These differences indicate that continual N enrichment led to a bumpy change at the transcription level. For the reported sixty-five genes which affect tillering, thirty-six showed decent expression in SAM at tiller starting phase, among them only nineteen being significantly influenced by N level, and two genes showed significant interaction between N rate and variety. Gene ontology analysis revealed that the majority of the common DEGs are involved in general stress responses, stimulus responses, and hormonal signaling process. WGCNA network identified twenty-two co-expressing gene modules and ten candidate hubgenes for each module. Several genes associated with tillering and N rate fall on the related modules. These indicate that there are more genes participating in tillering regulation in response to N enrichment.
Project description:The prediction of tillering is poor or absent in existing sorghum crop models even though fertile tillers contribute significantly to grain yield. The objective of this study was to identify general quantitative relationships underpinning tiller dynamics of sorghum for a broad range of assimilate availabilities. Emergence, phenology, leaf area development and fertility of individual main culms and tillers were quantified weekly in plants grown at one of four plant densities ranging from two to 16 plants m(-2). On any given day, a tiller was considered potentially fertile (a posteriori) if its number of leaves continued to increase thereafter. The dynamics of potentially fertile tiller number per plant varied greatly with plant density, but could generally be described by three determinants, stable across plant densities: tiller emergence rate aligned with leaf ligule appearance rate; cessation of tiller emergence occurred at a stable leaf area index; and rate of decrease in potentially fertile tillers was linearly related to the ratio of realized to potential leaf area growth. Realized leaf area growth is the measured increase in leaf area, whereas potential leaf area growth is the estimated increase in leaf area if all potentially fertile tillers were to continue to develop. Procedures to predict this ratio, by estimating realized leaf area per plant from intercepted radiation and potential leaf area per plant from the number and type of developing axes, are presented. While it is suitable for modelling tiller dynamics in grain sorghum, this general framework needs to be validated by testing it in different environments and for other cultivars.
Project description:The small grain cereal, finger millet (FM, Eleusine coracana L. Gaertn), is valued by subsistence farmers in India and East Africa as a low-input crop. It is reported by farmers to require no added nitrogen (N), or only residual N, to produce grain. Exact mechanisms underlying the acclimation responses of FM to low N are largely unknown, both above and below ground. In particular, the responses of FM roots and root hairs to N or any other nutrient have not previously been reported. Given its low N requirement, FM also provides a rare opportunity to study long-term responses to N starvation in a cereal species. The objective of this study was to survey the shoot and root morphometric responses of FM, including root hairs, to low N stress. Plants were grown in pails in a semi-hydroponic system on clay containing extremely low background N, supplemented with N or no N. To our surprise, plants grown without deliberately added N grew to maturity, looked relatively normal and produced healthy seed heads. Plants responded to the low N treatment by decreasing shoot, root, and seed head biomass. These declines under low N were associated with decreased shoot tiller number, crown root number, total crown root length and total lateral root length, but with no consistent changes in root hair traits. Changes in tiller and crown root number appeared to coordinate the above and below ground acclimation responses to N. We discuss the remarkable ability of FM to grow to maturity without deliberately added N. The results suggest that FM should be further explored to understand this trait. Our observations are consistent with indigenous knowledge from subsistence farmers in Africa and Asia, where it is reported that this crop can survive extreme environments.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Concentrations of cadmium (Cd) in the grain of many durum wheats (Triticum turgidum subsp. durum) grown in North American prairie soils often exceed international trade standards. Genotypic differences in root-to-shoot translocation of Cd are a major determinant of intraspecific variation in the accumulation of Cd in grain. We tested the extent to which changes in whole-plant Cd accumulation and the distribution of Cd between tissues influences Cd accumulation in grain by measuring Cd accumulation throughout the grain filling period in two near-isogenic lines (NILs) of durum wheat that differ in grain Cd accumulation. RESULTS: Roots absorbed Cd and transported it to the shoots throughout the grain filling period, but the low- and high-Cd NILs did not differ in whole-plant Cd uptake. Although the majority of Cd accumulation was retained in the roots, the low- and high-Cd NILs differed substantively in root-to-shoot translocation of Cd. At grain maturity, accumulation of Cd in the shoots was 13% (low-Cd NIL) or 37% (high-Cd NIL) of whole-plant Cd accumulation. Accumulation of Cd in all shoot tissue, including grain, was at least 2-fold greater in the high-Cd NIL at all harvests. There was no net remobilization of shoot Cd pools during grain filling. The timing of Cd accumulation in grain was positively correlated with grain biomass accumulation, and the rate of grain filling peaked between 14 and 28 days post-anthesis, when both NILs accumulated 60% of total grain biomass and 61-66% of total grain Cd content. CONCLUSIONS: These results show that genotypic variation in root-to-shoot translocation of Cd controls accumulation of Cd in durum wheat grain. Continued uptake of Cd by roots and the absence of net remobilization of Cd from leaves during grain filling support a direct pathway of Cd transport from roots to grain via xylem-to-phloem transfer in the stem.
Project description:Tillering is an important trait in monocotyledon plants. The switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), studied usually as a source of biomass for energy production, can produce hundreds of tillers in its lifetime. Studying the tillering of switchgrass also provides information for other monocot crops. High-tillering and low-tillering mutants were produced by ethyl methanesulfonate mutagenesis. Alteration of tillering ability resulted from different tiller buds outgrowth in the two mutants. We sequenced the tiller buds transcriptomes of high-tillering and low-tillering plants using next-generation sequencing technology, and generated 34 G data in total. In the de novo assembly results, 133,828 unigenes were detected with an average length of 1,238 bp, and 5,290 unigenes were differentially expressed between the two mutants, including 3,225 up-regulated genes and 2,065 down-regulated genes. Differentially expressed gene analysis with functional annotations was performed to identify candidate genes involved in tiller bud outgrowth processes using Gene Ontology classification, Cluster of Orthologous Groups of proteins, and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis. This is the first study to explore the tillering transcriptome in two types of tillering mutants by de novo sequencing.