J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2023, Vol. 65 ›› Issue (2): 526-547.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.13456

• Invited Expert Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Understanding the regulation of cereal grain filling: The way forward

Bin Ma1, Lin Zhang2,3* and Zuhua He1*   

  1. 1. National Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics, CAS Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, Institute of Plant Physiology & Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200032, China;
    2. Joint International Research Laboratory of Agriculture and Agri-Product Safety of the Ministry of Education, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China;
    3. Jiangsu Co-Innovation Center for Modern Production Technology of Grain Crops, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China
    *Correspondences: Lin Zhang (zhangl@yzu.edu.cn); Zuhua He (zhhe@cemps.ac.cn; Dr. He is fully responsible for the distributions of all materials associated with this article)
  • Received:2022-09-30 Accepted:2023-01-17 Online:2023-01-17 Published:2023-02-01

Abstract: During grain filling, starch and other nutrients accumulate in the endosperm; this directly determines grain yield and grain quality in crops such as rice (Oryza sativa), maize (Zea mays), and wheat (Triticum aestivum). Grain filling is a complex trait affected by both intrinsic and environmental factors, making it difficult to explore the underlying genetics, molecular regulation, and the application of these genes for breeding. With the development of powerful genetic and molecular techniques, much has been learned about the genes and molecular networks related to grain filling over the past decades. In this review, we highlight the key factors affecting grain filling, including both biological and abiotic factors. We then summarize the key genes controlling grain filling and their roles in this event, including regulators of sugar translocation and starch biosynthesis, phytohormone-related regulators, and other factors. Finally, we discuss how the current knowledge of valuable grain filling genes could be integrated with strategies for breeding cereal varieties with improved grain yield and quality.

Key words: cereals, grain filling, grain yield, phytohormone regulation, starch synthesis, sugar translocation

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