Development and characterization of a spring hexaploid wheat line with no functional VRN2 genes.
ABSTRACT: 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: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, the vernalization requirement is mainly controlled by the VRN genes. Different species of hexaploid and tetraploid wheat are widely used as genetic source for new mutant variants and alleles for fundamental investigations and practical breeding programs. In this study, VRN-A1 and VRN-B1 were analysed for 178 accessions representing six tetraploid wheat species (Triticum dicoccoides, T. dicoccum, T. turgidum, T. polonicum, T. carthlicum, T. durum) and five hexaploid species (T. compactum, T. sphaerococcum, T. spelta, T. macha, T. vavilovii).Novel allelic variants in the promoter region of VRN-A1 and VRN-B1 were identified based on the change in curvature and flexibility of the DNA molecules. The new variants of VRN-A1 (designated as Vrn-A1a.2, Vrn-A1b.2 - Vrn-A1b.6 and Vrn-A1i) were found to be widely distributed in hexaploid and tetraploid wheat, and in fact were predominant over the known VRN-A1 alleles. The greatest diversity of the new variants of VRN-B1 (designated as VRN-B1.f, VRN-B1.s and VRN-B1.m) was found in the tetraploid and some hexaploid wheat species. For the first time, minor differences within the sequence motif known as the VRN-box of VRN1 were correlated with wheat growth habit. Thus, vrn-A1b.3 and vrn-A1b.4 were revealed in winter wheat in contrast to Vrn-A1b.2, Vrn-A1b.5, Vrn-A1b.6 and Vrn-A1i. It was found that single nucleotide mutation in the VRN-box can influence the vernalization requirement and growth habit of wheat. Our data suggest that both the A-tract and C-rich segment within the VRN-box contribute to its functionality, and provide a new view of the hypothesised role of the VRN-box in regulating transcription of the VRN1 genes. Specifically, it is proposed that combination of mutations in this region can modulate vernalization sensitivity and flowering time of wheat.New allelic variants of the VRN-A1 and VRN-B1 genes were identified in hexaploid and tetraploid wheat. Mutations in A-tract and C-rich segments within the VRN-box of VRN-A1 are associated with modulation of the vernalization requirement and flowering time. New allelic variants will be useful in fundamental investigations into the regulation of VRN1 expression, and provide a valuable genetic resource for practical breeding of wheat.
Project description:Wheat vernalization requirement is mainly controlled by the VRN1, VRN2, VRN3, and VRN4 genes. The first three have been cloned and have homoeologs in all three genomes. VRN4 has been found only in the D genome (VRN-D4) and has not been cloned. We constructed a high-density genetic map of the VRN-D4 region and mapped VRN-D4 within a 0.09 cM interval in the centromeric region of chromosome 5D. Using telocentric 5D chromosomes generated from the VRN-D4 donor Triple Dirk F, we determined that VRN-D4 is located on the short arm. The VRN-D4 candidate region is colinear with a 2.24 Mb region on Brachypodium distachyon chromosome 4, which includes 127 predicted genes. Ten of these genes have predicted roles in development but we detected no functional polymorphisms associated to VRN-D4. Two recombination events separated VRN-D4 from TaVIL-D1, the wheat homolog of Arabidopsis vernalization gene VIL1, confirming that this gene is not a candidate for VRN-D4. We detected significant interactions between VRN-D4 and other four genes controlling vernalization requirement (Vrn-A1, Vrn-B1, Vrn-D1, and Vrn-B3), which confirmed that VRN-D4 is part of the vernalization pathway and that it is either upstream or is part of the regulatory feedback loop involving VRN1, VRN2 and VRN3 genes. The precise mapping of VRN-D4 and the characterization of its interactions with other vernalization genes provide valuable information for the utilization of VRN-D4 in wheat improvement and for our current efforts to clone this vernalization gene.
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: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: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:BACKGROUND:The precise identification of Winterness/Springness (growth habit) for bread wheat, which is determined by genes involved in vernalization and photoperiod, will contribute to the effective utilization of bread wheat varieties. Here, 198 varieties from the Yellow and Huai wheat production region (YHW) in China were collected to identify their vernalization (Vrn-1) and photoperiod (Ppd-1) gene composition via a series of functional markers and their association with vernalization and photoperiod requirements at three locations during two years of experiments. The growth habits were measured during the spring sowing season. RESULTS:The results showed that the semi-winter varieties (grades1-4) were most prevalent in the population. The relative effects of single Vrn alleles on the growth period, such as heading date (HD) and/or flowering date (FD), were as follows: Vrn-B1b?>?Vrn-B1a?>?Vrn-D1b?>?Vrn-D1a?>?vrn-D1?=?vrn-B1. The interactive effects of Vrn-B1 and Vrn-D1 on HD and FD were identical to those of Vrn-B1b. Approximately 35.3% of the cultivars carried Ppd-B1a (photoperiod-insensitive) and exhibited the earliest HD and FD. The Ppd-D1a-insensitive allele (Hapl II) was carried by just 0.5% of the varieties; however, the other two sensitive alleles were present at a higher frequency, and their effects were slightly weaker than those of Ppd-B1a. In addition, strong interactive effects between Ppd-B1 and Ppd-D1 were detected. In terms of mean values among various genotypes, the effects followed the order of Vrn-1?>?Ppd-1. CONCLUSIONS:According to the results of ANOVA and least significant range (LSR) tests, we can conclude that Vrn-1 rather than Ppd-1 played a major role in controlling vernalization and photoperiod responses in this region. This research will be helpful for precisely characterizing and evaluating the HD, FD and even growth habit of varieties in the YHW at molecular levels.
Project description:Plants with a winter growth habit flower earlier when exposed for several weeks to cold temperatures, a process called vernalization. We report here the positional cloning of the wheat vernalization gene VRN2, a dominant repressor of flowering that is down-regulated by vernalization. Loss of function of VRN2, whether by natural mutations or deletions, resulted in spring lines, which do not require vernalization to flower. Reduction of the RNA level of VRN2 by RNA interference accelerated the flowering time of transgenic winter-wheat plants by more than a month.
Project description:Low temperatures are required to regulate the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth via a pathway called vernalization. In wheat, vernalization predominantly involves the cold upregulation of the floral activator VERNALIZATION1 (VRN1). Here, we have used an extreme vernalization response, identified through studying ambient temperature responses, to reveal the complexity of temperature inputs into VRN-A1, with allelic inter-copy variation at a gene expansion of VRN-A1 modulating these effects. We find that the repressors of the reproductive transition, VERNALIZATION2 (VRN2) and ODDSOC2, are re-activated when plants experience high temperatures during and after vernalization. In addition, this re-activation is regulated by photoperiod for VRN2 but was independent of photoperiod for ODDSOC2 We also find this warm temperature interruption affects flowering time and floret number and is stage specific. This research highlights the important balance between floral activators and repressors in coordinating the response of a plant to temperature, and that the absence of warmth is essential for the completion of vernalization. This knowledge can be used to develop agricultural germplasm with more predictable vernalization responses that will be more resilient to variable growth temperatures.
Project description:The interaction between VRN - A1 and FR - A2 largely affect the frost tolerance of hexaploid wheat. Frost tolerance is critical for wheat survival during cold winters. Natural variation for this trait is mainly associated with allelic differences at the VERNALIZATION 1 (VRN1) and FROST RESISTANCE 2 (FR2) loci. VRN1 regulates the transition between vegetative and reproductive stages and FR2, a locus including several tandemly duplicated C-REPEAT BINDING FACTOR (CBF) transcription factors, regulates the expression of Cold-regulated genes. We identified sequence and copy number variation at these two loci among winter and spring wheat varieties and characterized their association with frost tolerance. We identified two FR-A2 haplotypes-'FR-A2-S' and 'FR-A2-T'-distinguished by two insertion/deletions and ten single nucleotide polymorphisms within the CBF-A12 and CBF-A15 genes. Increased copy number of CBF-A14 was frequently associated with the FR-A2-T haplotype and with higher CBF14 transcript levels in response to cold. Factorial ANOVAs revealed significant interactions between VRN1 and FR-A2 for frost tolerance in both winter and spring panels suggesting a crosstalk between vernalization and cold acclimation pathways. The model including these two loci and their interaction explained 32.0 and 20.7 % of the variation in frost tolerance in the winter and spring panels, respectively. The interaction was validated in a winter wheat F 4:5 population segregating for both genes. Increased VRN-A1 copy number was associated with improved frost tolerance among varieties carrying the FR-A2-T allele but not among those carrying the FR-A2-S allele. These results suggest that selection of varieties carrying the FR-A2-T allele and three copies of the recessive vrn-A1 allele would be a good strategy to improve frost tolerance in wheat.