A plant biostimulant from the seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum (Sealicit) reduces podshatter and yield loss in oilseed rape through modulation of IND expression.
ABSTRACT: The yield of podded crops such as oilseed rape (OSR) is limited by evolutionary adaptations of the plants for more efficient and successful seed dispersal for survival. These plants have evolved dehiscent dry fruits that shatter along a specifically developed junction at carpel margins. A number of strategies such as pod sealants, GMOs and hybrids have been developed to mitigate the impact of pod shatter on crop yield with limited success. Plant biostimulants have been shown to influence plant development. A challenge in plant biostimulant research is elucidating the mechanisms of action. Here we have focused on understanding the effect of an Ascophyllum nodosum based biostimulant (Sealicit) on fruit development and seed dispersal trait in Arabidopsis and OSR at genetic and physiological level. The results indicate that Sealicit is affecting the expression of the major regulator of pod shattering, INDEHISCENT, as well as disrupting the auxin minimum. Both factors influence the formation of the dehiscence zone and consequently reduce pod shattering. Unravelling the mode of action of this unique biostimulant provides data to support its effectiveness in reducing pod shatter and highlights its potential for growers to increase seed yield in a number of OSR varieties.
Project description:KEY MESSAGE:Elucidation of key regulators in Arabidopsis fruit patterning has facilitated knowledge-translation into crop species to address yield loss caused by premature seed dispersal (pod shatter). In the 1980s, plant scientists descended on a small weed Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress) and developed it into a powerful model system to study plant biology. The massive advances in genetics and genomics since then have allowed us to obtain incredibly detailed knowledge on specific biological processes of Arabidopsis growth and development, its genome sequence and the function of many of the individual genes. This wealth of information provides immense potential for translation into crops to improve their performance and address issues of global importance such as food security. Here, we describe how fundamental insight into the genetic mechanism by which seed dispersal occurs in members of the Brassicaceae family can be exploited to reduce seed loss in oilseed rape (Brassica napus). We demonstrate that by exploiting data on gene function in model species, it is possible to adjust the pod-opening process in oilseed rape, thereby significantly increasing yield. Specifically, we identified mutations in multiple paralogues of the INDEHISCENT and GA4 genes in B. napus and have overcome genetic redundancy by combining mutant alleles. Finally, we present novel software for the analysis of pod shatter data that is applicable to any crop for which seed dispersal is a serious problem. These findings highlight the tremendous potential of fundamental research in guiding strategies for crop improvement.
Project description:Seed shattering in crops is a key domestication trait due to its relevance for seed dispersal, yield, and fundamental questions in evolution (e.g., convergent evolution). Here, we focused on pod shattering in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), the most important legume crop for human consuption in the world. With this main aim, we developed a methodological pipeline that comprises a thorough characterization under field conditions, including also the chemical composition and histological analysis of the pod valves. The pipeline was developed based on the assumption that the shattering trait itself can be treated in principle as a "syndrome" (i.e., a set of correlated different traits) at the pod level. We characterized a population of 267 introgression lines that were developed ad-hoc to study shattering in common bean. Three main objectives were sought: (1) to dissect the shattering trait into its "components," of level (percentage of shattering pods per plant) and mode (percentage of pods with twisting or non-twisting valves); (2) to test whether shattering is associated to the chemical composition and/or the histological characteristics of the pod valves; and (3) to test the associations between shattering and other plant traits. We can conclude the following: Very high shattering levels can be achieved in different modes; shattering resistance is mainly a qualitative trait; and high shattering levels is correlated with high carbon and lignin contents of the pod valves and with specific histological charaterstics of the ventral sheath and the inner fibrous layer of the pod wall. Our data also suggest that shattering comes with a "cost," as it is associated with low pod size, low seed weight per pod, high pod weight, and low seed to pod-valves ratio; indeed, it can be more exaustively described as a syndrome at the pod level. Our work suggests that the valve chemical composition (i.e., carbon and lignin content) can be used for a high troughput phenotyping procedures for shattering phenotyping. Finally, we believe that the application of our pipeline will greatly facilitate comparative studies among legume crops, and gene tagging.
Project description:Seed loss resulting from pod shattering is a major constraint in production of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying pod shatter resistance are not well understood. Here, we show that the pod shatter resistance at quantitative trait locus qSRI.A9.1 is controlled by one of the B. napus SHATTERPROOF1 homologs, BnSHP1.A9, in a doubled haploid population generated from parents designated R1 and R2 as well as in a diverse panel of oilseed rape. The R1 maternal parental line of the doubled haploid population carried the allele for shattering at qSRI.A9.1, while the R2 parental line carried the allele for shattering resistance. Quantitative RT-PCR showed that BnSHP1.A9 was expressed specifically in flower buds, flowers, and developing siliques in R1, while it was not expressed in any tissue of R2. Transgenic plants constitutively expressing either of the BnSHP1.A9 alleles from the R1 and R2 parental lines showed that both alleles are responsible for pod shattering, via a mechanism that promotes lignification of the enb layer. These findings indicated that the allelic differences in the BnSHP1.A9 gene per se are not the causal factor for quantitative variation in shattering resistance at qSRI.A9.1. Instead, a highly methylated copia-like long terminal repeat retrotransposon insertion (4803 bp) in the promotor region of the R2 allele of BnSHP1.A9 repressed the expression of BnSHP1.A9, and thus contributed to pod shatter resistance. Finally, we showed a copia-like retrotransposon-based marker, BnSHP1.A9R2, can be used for marker-assisted breeding targeting the pod shatter resistance trait in oilseed rape.
Project description:The majority of rapeseed cultivars shatter seeds upon maturity especially under hot-dry and windy conditions, reducing yield and gross margin return to growers. Here, we identified quantitative trait loci (QTL) for resistance to pod shatter in an unstructured diverse panel of 143 rapeseed accessions, and two structured populations derived from bi-parental doubled haploid (DH) and inter-mated (IF2) crosses derived from R1 (resistant to pod shattering) and R2 (prone to pod shattering) accessions. Genome-wide association analysis identified six significant QTL for resistance to pod shatter located on chromosomes A01, A06, A07, A09, C02, and C05. Two of the QTL, qSRI.A09 delimited with the SNP marker Bn-A09-p30171993 (A09) and qSRI.A06 delimited with the SNP marker Bn-A06-p115948 (A06) could be repeatedly detected across environments in a diversity panel, DH and IF2 populations, suggesting that at least two loci on chromosomes A06 and A09 were the main contributors to pod shatter resistance in Chinese germplasm. Significant SNP markers identified in this study especially those that appeared repeatedly across environments provide a cost-effective and an efficient method for introgression and pyramiding of favorable alleles for pod shatter resistance via marker-assisted selection in rapeseed improvement programs.
Project description:Asynchronous flowering of Brassica napus (canola) leads to seeds and siliques at varying stages of maturity as harvest approaches. This range of maturation can result in premature silique dehiscence (pod shattering), resulting in yield losses, which may be worsened by environmental stresses. Therefore, a goal for canola crop improvement is to reduce shattering in order to maximize yield. We performed a comprehensive transcriptome analysis on the dehiscence zone (DZ) and valve of Arabidopsis and Brassica siliques in shatter resistant and sensitive genotypes at several developmental stages. Among known Arabidopsis dehiscence genes, we confirmed that homologs of SHP1/2, FUL, ADPG1, NST1/3 and IND were associated with shattering in B. juncea and B. napus. We noted a correlation between reduced pectin degradation genes and shatter-resistance. Tension between lignified and non-lignified cells in the silique DZ plays a major role in dehiscence. Light microscopy revealed a smaller non-lignified separation layer in relatively shatter-resistant B. juncea relative to B. napus and this corresponded to increased expression of peroxidases involved in monolignol polymerization. Sustained repression of auxin biosynthesis, transport and signaling in B. juncea relative to B. napus may cause differences in dehiscence zone structure and cell wall constituents. Tension on the dehiscence zone is a consequence of shrinkage and loss of flexibility in the valves, which is caused by senescence and desiccation. Reduced shattering was generally associated with upregulation of ABA signaling and down-regulation of ethylene and jasmonate signaling, corresponding to more pronounced stress responses and reduced senescence and photosynthesis. Overall, we identified 124 cell wall related genes and 103 transcription factors potentially involved in silique dehiscence.
Project description:"Easy-to-shatter" trait is a major cause of rice crop yield losses, emphasizing the economic value of developing elite rice cultivars with reduced seed shattering capable of achieving higher yields. In the present study, we describe the development of new indica rice lines that exhibit lower rates of seed shattering following the targeted CRISPR/Cas9-mediated editing of the qSH1 gene. We were able to identify qSH1 mutant T0 transgenic plants, with transgene-free homozygous mutants being obtained via segregation in the T1 generation. We then utilized two T2 transgene-free homozygous lines in order to assess the degree of seed shattering and major agronomic traits of these mutant lines and of wild-type rice plants (HR1128-WT). This approach revealed that qsh1 homozygous mutant lines exhibited significantly reduced seed shattering relative to HR1128-WT without any significant changes in other analyzed agronomic traits. We then used these mutant lines to develop new promising hybrid rice lines with intermediate seed shattering. Overall our results reveal that combining targeted gene editing via CRISPR/Cas9 with heterosis utilization approach can allow for the efficient development of novel promising hybrid rice cultivars that exhibit a intermediate of seed shattering, thereby ensuring better stability and improved rice yields.
Project description:Oilseed rape is one of the important oil plants. Pod shattering is one of the problems in oilseed rape production especially in regions with dry conditions. One of the important genes in Brassica pod opening is SHATTERPROOF1 (SHP1). Down-regulation of BnSHP1 expression by RNAi can increase resistance to pod shattering. A 470 bp of the BnSHP1 cDNA sequence constructed in an RNAi-silencing vector was transferred to oilseed rape cv. SLM046. Molecular analysis of T2 transgenic plants by RT-PCR and Real-time PCR showed that expression of the BnSHP alleles was highly decreased in comparison with control plants. Morphologically, transgenic plants were normal and produced seeds at greenhouse conditions. At ripening, stage pods failed to shatter, and a finger pressure was needed for pod opening.
Project description:Oilseed rape (OSR) grown in monoculture shows a decline in yield relative to virgin OSR of up to 25%, but the mechanisms responsible are unknown. A long term field experiment of OSR grown in a range of rotations with wheat was used to determine whether shifts in fungal and bacterial populations of the rhizosphere and bulk soil were associated with the development of OSR yield decline. The communities of fungi and bacteria in the rhizosphere and bulk soil from the field experiment were profiled using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) and sequencing of cloned internal transcribed spacer regions and 16S rRNA genes, respectively. OSR cropping frequency had no effect on rhizosphere bacterial communities. However, the rhizosphere fungal communities from continuously grown OSR were significantly different to those from other rotations. This was due primarily to an increase in abundance of two fungi which showed 100% and 95% DNA identity to the plant pathogens Olpidium brassicae and Pyrenochaeta lycopersici, respectively. Real-time PCR confirmed that there was significantly more of these fungi in the continuously grown OSR than the other rotations. These two fungi were isolated from the field and used to inoculate OSR and Brassica oleracea grown under controlled conditions in a glasshouse to determine their effect on yield. At high doses, Olpidium brassicae reduced top growth and root biomass in seedlings and reduced branching and subsequent pod and seed production. Pyrenochaeta sp. formed lesions on the roots of seedlings, and at high doses delayed flowering and had a negative impact on seed quantity and quality.
Project description:Resistance to pod shattering (shatter resistance) is a target trait for global rapeseed (canola, Brassica napus L.), improvement programs to minimise grain loss in the mature standing crop, and during windrowing and mechanical harvest. We describe the genetic basis of natural variation for shatter resistance in B. napus and show that several quantitative trait loci (QTL) control this trait. To identify loci underlying shatter resistance, we used a novel genotyping-by-sequencing approach DArT-Seq. QTL analysis detected a total of 12 significant QTL on chromosomes A03, A07, A09, C03, C04, C06, and C08; which jointly account for approximately 57% of the genotypic variation in shatter resistance. Through Genome-Wide Association Studies, we show that a large number of loci, including those that are involved in shattering in Arabidopsis, account for variation in shatter resistance in diverse B. napus germplasm. Our results indicate that genetic diversity for shatter resistance genes in B. napus is limited; many of the genes that might control this trait were not included during the natural creation of this species, or were not retained during the domestication and selection process. We speculate that valuable diversity for this trait was lost during the natural creation of B. napus. To improve shatter resistance, breeders will need to target the introduction of useful alleles especially from genotypes of other related species of Brassica, such as those that we have identified.
Project description:Cultivated rice fields worldwide are plagued with weedy rice, a conspecific weed of cultivated rice (Oryza sativa L.). The persistence of weedy rice has been attributed, in part, to its ability to shatter (disperse) seed prior to crop harvesting. In the United States, separately evolved weedy rice groups have been shown to share genomic identity with exotic domesticated cultivars. Here, we investigate the shattering phenotype in a collection of U.S. weedy rice accessions, as well as wild and cultivated relatives. We find that all U.S. weedy rice groups shatter seeds easily, despite multiple origins, and in contrast to a decrease in shattering ability seen in cultivated groups. We assessed allelic identity and diversity at the major shattering locus, sh4, in weedy rice; we find that all cultivated and weedy rice, regardless of population, share similar haplotypes at sh4, and all contain a single derived mutation associated with decreased seed shattering. Our data constitute the strongest evidence to date of an evolution of weeds from domesticated backgrounds. The combination of a shared cultivar sh4 allele and a highly shattering phenotype, suggests that U.S. weedy rice have re-acquired the shattering trait after divergence from their progenitors through alternative genetic mechanisms.