J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2021, Vol. 63 ›› Issue (6): 995-1003.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.13034

Special Issue: Crop yield Flowering

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A recent retrotransposon insertion of J caused E6 locus facilitating soybean adaptation into low latitude

Chao Fang1†, Jun Liu1†, Ting Zhang1†, Tong Su2, Shichen Li2, Qun Cheng1, Lingping Kong1, Xiaoming Li3, Tiantian Bu1, Haiyang Li1,4, Lidong Dong1, Sijia Lu1*, Fanjiang Kong1,2* and Baohui Liu1,2*   

  1. 1Innovative Center of Molecular Genetics and Evolution, School of Life Sciences, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
    2The Innovative Academy of Seed Design, Key Laboratory of Soybean Molecular Design Breeding, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Harbin 150000, China
    3Key Laboratory of South China Agricultural Plant Molecular Analysis and Genetic Improvement, South China Botanical Garden, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, China
    4National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Modern Crop Production, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China

    These authors contributed equally to this work.
    *Correspondences: Sijia Lu (lusijia@gzhu.edu.cn); Fanjiang Kong (kongfj@gzhu.edu.cn); Baohui Liu (liubh@gzhu.edu.cn, Dr. Liu is fully responsible for the distribution of all materials associated with this article)
  • Received:2020-09-06 Accepted:2020-11-09 Online:2020-11-18 Published:2021-06-01

Abstract: Soybean (Glycine max) is an important legume crop that was domesticated in temperate regions. Soybean varieties from these regions generally mature early and exhibit extremely low yield when grown under inductive short-day (SD) conditions at low latitudes. The long-juvenile (LJ) trait, which is characterized by delayed flowering and maturity, and improved yield under SD conditions, allowed the cultivation of soybean to expand to lower latitudes. Two major loci control the LJ trait: J and E6. In the current study, positional cloning, sequence analysis, and transgenic complementation confirmed that E6 is a novel allele of J, the ortholog of Arabidopsis thaliana EARLY FLOWERING 3 (ELF3). The mutant allele e6PG, which carries a Ty1/Copia-like retrotransposon insertion, does not suppress the legume-specific flowering repressor E1, allowing E1 to inhibit Flowering Locus T (FT) expression and thus delaying flowering and increasing yields under SD conditions. The e6PG allele is a rare allele that has not been incorporated into modern breeding programs. The dysfunction of J might have greatly facilitated the adaptation of soybean to low latitudes. Our findings increase our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the LJ trait and provide valuable resources for soybean breeding.

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