Crop yield

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    GRAIN LENGTH AND AWN 1 negatively regulates grain size in rice
    Tao Wang, Ting Zou, Zhiyuan He, Guoqiang Yuan, Tao Luo, Jun Zhu, Yueyang Liang, Qiming Deng, Shiquan Wang, Aiping Zheng, Huainian Liu, Lingxia Wang, Ping Li and Shuangcheng Li
    J Integr Plant Biol 2019, 61 (10): 1036-1042.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12736
    Abstract (Browse 1312)  |   Save
    Grain size is an important factor determining yield in rice. Here, we identified a recessive mutant gene, grain length and awn 1 (gla1), which caused a significant increase in grain length and weight, and was associated with long awns. The gla1 mutation was mapped to a single‐nucleotide polymorphism in a gene encoding a cytoplasmically‐localized mitogen‐activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphatase. Overexpression of GLA1 caused a decrease in grain length, and the GLA1 protein interacted with OsMAPK6. These results suggest that GLA1 may serve as a negative regulator of the OsMAPKK4‐OsMAPK6 cascade, controlling grain size via the dephosphorylation of OsMAPK6.
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    Genome editing for plant research and crop improvement
    Xiangqiang Zhan, Yuming Lu, Jian-Kang Zhu and Jose Ramon Botella
    J Integr Plant Biol 2021, 63 (1): 3-33.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.13063
    Abstract (Browse 781)  |   Save
    The advent of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) has had a profound impact on plant biology, and crop improvement. In this review, we summarize the state‐of‐the‐art development of CRISPR technologies and their applications in plants, from the initial introduction of random small indel (insertion or deletion) mutations at target genomic loci to precision editing such as base editing, prime editing and gene targeting. We describe advances in the use of class 2, types II, V, and VI systems for gene disruption as well as for precise sequence alterations, gene transcription, and epigenome control.
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    Reciprocal regulation between the negative regulator PP2CG1 phosphatase and the positive regulator OST1 kinase confers cold response in Arabidopsis
    Jian Lv, Jingyan Liu, Yuhang Ming, Yiting Shi, Chunpeng Song, Zhizhong Gong, Shuhua Yang and Yanglin Ding
    J Integr Plant Biol 2021, 63 (8): 1568-1587.  
    DOI: 10.1111/jipb.13100
    Abstract (Browse 591)  |   Save
    Protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation have been reported to play important roles in plant cold responses. In addition, phospho-regulatory feedback is a conserved mechanism for biological processes and stress responses in animals and plants. However, it is less well known that a regulatory feedback loop is formed by the protein kinase and the protein phosphatase in plant responses to cold stress. Here, we report that OPEN STOMATA 1 (OST1) and PROTEIN PHOSPHATASE 2C G GROUP 1 (PP2CG1) reciprocally regulate the activity during the cold stress response. The interaction of PP2CG1 and OST1 is inhibited by cold stress, which results in the release of OST1 at the cytoplasm and nucleus from suppression by PP2CG1. Interestingly, cold-activated OST1 phosphorylates PP2CG1 to suppress its phosphatase activity, thereby amplifying cold signaling in plants. Mutations of PP2CG1 and its homolog PP2CG2 enhance freezing tolerance, whereas overexpression of PP2CG1 decreases freezing tolerance. Moreover, PP2CG1 negatively regulates protein levels of C-REPEAT BINDING FACTORs (CBFs) under cold stress. Our results uncover a phosphor/dephosphor-regulatory feedback loop mediated by PP2CG1 phosphatase and OST1 protein kinase in plant cold responses.
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    FT5a interferes with the Dt1-AP1 feedback loop to control flowering time and shoot determinacy in soybean
    Lin Yue, Xiaoming Li, Chao Fang, Liyu Chen, Hui Yang, Jie Yang, Zhonghui Chen, Haiyang Nan, Linnan Chen, Yuhang Zhang, Haiyang Li, Xingliang Hou, Zhicheng Dong, James L. Weller, Jun Abe, Baohui Liu and Fanjiang Kong
    J Integr Plant Biol 2021, 63 (6): 1004-1020.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.13070
    Abstract (Browse 531)  |   Save
    Flowering time and stem growth habit determine inflorescence architecture in soybean, which in turn influences seed yield. Dt1, a homolog of Arabidopsis TERMINAL FLOWER 1 (TFL1), is a major controller of stem growth habit, but its underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that Dt1 affects node number and plant height, as well as flowering time, in soybean under long-day conditions. The bZIP transcription factor FDc1 physically interacts with Dt1, and the FDc1-Dt1 complex directly represses the expression of APETALA1 (AP1). We propose that FT5a inhibits Dt1 activity via a competitive interaction with FDc1 and directly upregulates AP1. Moreover, AP1 represses Dt1 expression by directly binding to the Dt1 promoter, suggesting that AP1 and Dt1 form a suppressive regulatory feedback loop to determine the fate of the shoot apical meristem. These findings provide novel insights into the roles of Dt1 and FT5a in controlling the stem growth habit and flowering time in soybean, which determine the adaptability and grain yield of this important crop.
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    A rare Waxy allele coordinately improves rice eating and cooking quality and grain transparency
    Changquan Zhang, Yong Yang, Shengjie Chen, Xueju Liu, Jihui Zhu, Lihui Zhou, Yan Lu, Qianfeng Li, Xiaolei Fan, Shuzhu Tang, Minghong Gu and Qiaoquan Liu
    J Integr Plant Biol 2021, 63 (5): 889-901.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.13010
    Abstract (Browse 486)  |   Save
    In rice (Oryza sativa), amylose content (AC) is the major factor that determines eating and cooking quality (ECQ). The diversity in AC is largely attributed to natural allelic variation at the Waxy (Wx) locus. Here we identified a rare Wx allele, Wxmw, which combines a favorable AC, improved ECQ and grain transparency. Based on a phylogenetic analysis of Wx genomic sequences from 370 rice accessions, we speculated that Wxmw may have derived from recombination between two important natural Wx alleles, Wxin and Wxb. We validated the effects of Wxmw on rice grain quality using both transgenic lines and near‐isogenic lines (NILs). When introgressed into the japonica Nipponbare (NIP) background, Wxmw resulted in a moderate AC that was intermediate between that of NILs carrying the Wxb allele and NILs with the Wxmp allele. Notably, mature grains of NILs fixed for Wxmw had an improved transparent endosperm relative to soft rice. Further, we introduced Wxmw into a high‐yielding japonica cultivar via molecular marker‐assisted selection: the introgressed lines exhibited clear improvements in ECQ and endosperm transparency. Our results suggest that Wxmw is a promising allele to improve grain quality, especially ECQ and grain transparency of high‐yielding japonica cultivars, in rice breeding programs.
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    The nodulation and nyctinastic leaf movement is orchestrated by clock gene LHY in Medicago truncatula
    Yiming Kong, Lu Han, Xiu Liu, Hongfeng Wang, Lizhu Wen, Xiaolin Yu, Xiaodong Xu, Fanjiang Kong, Chunxiang Fu, Kirankumar S. Mysore, Jiangqi Wen and Chuanen Zhou
    J Integr Plant Biol 2020, 62 (12): 1880-1895.  
    DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12999
    Abstract (Browse 472)  |   Save

    As sessile organisms, plants perceive, respond, and adapt to the environmental changes for optimal growth and survival. The plant growth and fitness are enhanced by circadian clocks through coordination of numerous biological events. In legume species, nitrogen‐fixing root nodules were developed as the plant organs specialized for symbiotic transfer of nitrogen between microsymbiont and host. Here, we report that the endogenous circadian rhythm in nodules is regulated by MtLHY in legume species Medicago truncatula. Loss of function of MtLHY leads to a reduction in the number of nodules formed, resulting in a diminished ability to assimilate nitrogen. The operation of the 24‐h rhythm in shoot is further influenced by the availability of nitrogen produced by the nodules, leading to the irregulated nyctinastic leaf movement and reduced biomass in mtlhy mutants. These data shed new light on the roles of MtLHY in the orchestration of circadian oscillator in nodules and shoots, which provides a mechanistic link between nodulation, nitrogen assimilation, and clock function.

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    Molecular mechanisms for the photoperiodic regulation of flowering in soybean
    Xiaoya Lin, Baohui Liu, James L. Weller, Jun Abe and Fanjiang Kong
    J Integr Plant Biol 2021, 63 (6): 981-994.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.13021
    Abstract (Browse 470)  |   Save
    Photoperiodic flowering is one of the most important factors affecting regional adaptation and yield in soybean (Glycine max). Plant adaptation to long-day conditions at higher latitudes requires early flowering and a reduction or loss of photoperiod sensitivity; adaptation to short-day conditions at lower latitudes involves delayed flowering, which prolongs vegetative growth for maximum yield potential. Due to the influence of numerous major loci and quantitative trait loci (QTLs), soybean has broad adaptability across latitudes. Forward genetic approaches have uncovered the molecular basis for several of these major maturity genes and QTLs. Moreover, the molecular characterization of orthologs of Arabidopsis thaliana flowering genes has enriched our understanding of the photoperiodic flowering pathway in soybean. Building on early insights into the importance of the photoreceptor phytochrome A, several circadian clock components have been integrated into the genetic network controlling flowering in soybean: E1, a repressor of FLOWERING LOCUS T orthologs, plays a central role in this network. Here, we provide an overview of recent progress in elucidating photoperiodic flowering in soybean, how it contributes to our fundamental understanding of flowering time control, and how this information could be used for molecular design and breeding of high-yielding soybean cultivars.
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    Ethylene signaling in rice and Arabidopsis: New regulators and mechanisms
    He Zhao, Cui-Cui Yin, Biao Ma, Shou-Yi Chen and Jin-Song Zhang
    J Integr Plant Biol 2021, 63 (1): 102-125.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.13028
    Abstract (Browse 464)  |   Save
    Ethylene is a gaseous hormone which plays important roles in both plant growth and development and stress responses. Based on studies in the dicot model plant species Arabidopsis, a linear ethylene signaling pathway has been established, according to which ethylene is perceived by ethylene receptors and transduced through CONSTITUTIVE TRIPLE RESPONSE 1 (CTR1) and ETHYLENE‐INSENSITIVE 2 (EIN2) to activate transcriptional reprogramming. In addition to this canonical signaling pathway, an alternative ethylene receptor‐mediated phosphor‐relay pathway has also been proposed to participate in ethylene signaling. In contrast to Arabidopsis, rice, a monocot, grows in semiaquatic environments and has a distinct plant structure. Several novel regulators and/or mechanisms of the rice ethylene signaling pathway have recently been identified, indicating that the ethylene signaling pathway in rice has its own unique features. In this review, we summarize the latest progress and compare the conserved and divergent aspects of the ethylene signaling pathway between Arabidopsis and rice. The crosstalk between ethylene and other plant hormones is also reviewed. Finally, we discuss how ethylene regulates plant growth, stress responses and agronomic traits. These analyses should help expand our knowledge of the ethylene signaling mechanism and could further be applied for agricultural purposes.
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    Tillering and small grain 1 dominates the tryptophan aminotransferase family required for local auxin biosynthesis in rice
    Tao Guo, Ke Chen, Nai-Qian Dong, Wang-Wei Ye, Jun-Xiang Shan and Hong-Xuan Lin
    J Integr Plant Biol 2020, 62 (5): 581-600.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12820
    Abstract (Browse 463)  |   Save

    Auxin is a crucial phytohormone, controlling multiple aspects of plant growth and responses to the changing environment. However, the role of local auxin biosynthesis in specific developmental programs remains unknown in crops. This study characterized the rice tillering and small grain 1 (tsg1) mutant, which has more tillers but a smaller panicle and grain size resulting from a reduction in endogenous auxin. TSG1 encodes a tryptophan aminotransferase that is allelic to the FISH BONE (FIB) gene. The tsg1 mutant showed hypersensitivity to indole‐3‐acetic acid and the competitive inhibitor of aminotransferase, L‐kynurenine. TSG1 knockout resulted in an increased tiller number but reduction in grain number and size, and decrease in height. Meanwhile, deletion of the TSG1 homologs OsTAR1, OsTARL1, and OsTARL2 caused no obvious changes, although the phenotype of the TSG1/OsTAR1 double mutant was intensified and infertile, suggesting gene redundancy in the rice tryptophan aminotransferase family. Interestingly, TSG1 and OsTAR1, but not OsTARL1 and OsTARL2, displayed marked aminotransferase activity. Meanwhile, subcellular localization was identified as the endoplasmic reticulum, while phylogenetic analysis revealed functional divergence of TSG1 and OsTAR1 from OsTARL1 and OsTARL2. These findings suggest that TSG1 dominates the tryptophan aminotransferase family, playing a prominent role in local auxin biosynthesis in rice.

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    Functional assembly of root-associated microbial consortia improves nutrient efficiency and yield in soybean
    Cunhu Wang, Yanjun Li, Mingjia Li, Kefei Zhang, Wenjing Ma, Lei Zheng, Hanyu Xu, Baofeng Cui, Ran Liu, Yongqing Yang, Yongjia Zhong and Hong Liao
    J Integr Plant Biol 2021, 63 (6): 1021-1035.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.13073
    Abstract (Browse 459)  |   Save
    Root-associated microbes are critical for plant growth and nutrient acquisition. However, scant information exists on optimizing communities of beneficial root-associated microbes or the mechanisms underlying their interactions with host plants. In this report, we demonstrate that root-associated microbes are critical influencers of host plant growth and nutrient acquisition. Three synthetic communities (SynComs) were constructed based on functional screening of 1,893 microbial strains isolated from root-associated compartments of soybean plants. Functional assemblage of SynComs promoted significant plant growth and nutrient acquisition under both N/P nutrient deficiency and sufficiency conditions. Field trials further revealed that application of SynComs stably and significantly promoted plant growth, facilitated N and P acquisition, and subsequently increased soybean yield. Among the tested communities, SynCom1 exhibited the greatest promotion effect, with yield increases of up to 36.1% observed in two field sites. Further RNA-seq implied that SynCom application systemically regulates N and P signaling networks at the transcriptional level, which leads to increased representation of important growth pathways, especially those related to auxin responses. Overall, this study details a promising strategy for constructing SynComs based on functional screening, which are capable of enhancing nutrient acquisition and crop yield through the activities of beneficial root-associated microbes.
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    A reductionist approach to dissecting grain weight and yield in wheat
    Jemima Brinton and Cristobal Uauy
    J Integr Plant Biol 2019, 61 (3): 337-358.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12741
    Abstract (Browse 414)  |   Save
    Grain yield is a highly polygenic trait that is influenced by the environment and integrates events throughout the life cycle of a plant. In wheat, the major grain yield components often present compensatory effects among them, which alongside the polyploid nature of wheat, makes their genetic and physiological study challenging. We propose a reductionist and systematic approach as an initial step to understand the gene networks regulating each individual yield component. Here, we focus on grain weight and discuss the importance of examining individual sub-components, not only to help in their genetic dissection, but also to inform our mechanistic understanding of how they interrelate. This knowledge should allow the development of novel combinations, across homoeologs and between complementary modes of action, thereby advancing towards a more integrated strategy for yield improvement. We argue that this will break barriers in terms of phenotypic variation, enhance our understanding of the physiology of yield, and potentially deliver improved on-farm yield.
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    Big Grain3, encoding a purine permease, regulates grain size via modulating cytokinin transport in rice
    Yunhua Xiao, Dapu Liu, Guoxia Zhang, Shaopei Gao, Linchuan Liu, Fan Xu, Ronghui Che, Yiqin Wang, Hongning Tong and Chengcai Chu
    J Integr Plant Biol 2019, 61 (5): 581-597.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12727
    Abstract (Browse 409)  |   Save
    Grain size is an important agronomic trait affecting grain yield, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Here, we isolated a dominant mutant, big grain3 (bg3-D), which exhibits a remarkable increase of grain size caused by activation of the PURINE PERMEASE gene, OsPUP4. BG3/OsPUP4 is predominantly expressed in vascular tissues and is specifically suppressed by exogenous cytokinin application. Hormone profiling revealed that the distribution of different cytokinin forms, in roots and shoots of the bg3-D mutant, is altered. Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis indicated that expression of rice cytokinin type-A RESPONSE REGULATOR (OsRR) genes is enhanced in the roots of the bg3-D mutant. These results suggest that OsPUP4 might contribute to the long-distance transport of cytokinin, by reinforcing cytokinin loading into vascular bundle cells. Furthermore, plants overexpressing OsPUP7, the closest homolog of OsPUP4, also exhibited a similar phenotype to the bg3-D mutant. Interestingly, subcellular localization demonstrated that OsPUP4 was localized on the plasma membrane, whereas OsPUP7 was localized to the endoplasmic reticulum. Based on these findings, we propose that OsPUP4 and OsPUP7 function in a linear pathway to direct cytokinin cell-to-cell transport, affecting both its long-distance movement and local allocation.
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    OsCYCP4s coordinate phosphate starvation signaling with cell cycle progression in rice
    Lei Xu, Fang Wang, Ruili Li, Minjuan Deng, Meilan Fu, Huiying Teng and Keke Yi
    J Integr Plant Biol 2020, 62 (7): 1017-1033.  
    DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12885
    Abstract (Browse 403)  |   Save

    Phosphate starvation leads to a strong reduction in shoot growth and yield in crops. The reduced shoot growth is caused by extensive gene expression reprogramming triggered by phosphate deficiency, which is not itself a direct consequence of low levels of shoot phosphorus. However, how phosphate starvation inhibits shoot growth in rice is still unclear. In this study, we determined the role of OsCYCP4s in the regulation of shoot growth in response to phosphate starvation in rice. We demonstrate that the expression levels of OsCYCP4s , except OsCYCP4;3 , were induced by phosphate starvation. Overexpression of the phosphate starvation induced OsCYCP4s could compete with the other cyclins for the binding with cyclin‐dependent kinases, therefore suppressing growth by reducing cell proliferation. The phosphate starvation induced growth inhibition in the loss‐of‐function mutants cycp4;1 , cycp4;2 , and cycp4;4 is partially compromised. Furthermore, the expression of some phosphate starvation inducible genes is negatively modulated by these cyclins, which indicates that these OsCYCP4s may also be involved in phosphate starvation signaling. We conclude that phosphate starvation induced OsCYCP4s might coordinate phosphate starvation signaling and cell cycle progression under phosphate starvation stress.

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    The epidermis-specific cyclin CYCP3;1 is involved in the excess brassinosteroid signaling-inhibited root meristem cell division
    Yuxiao Chen, Shiyong Sun and Xuelu Wang
    J Integr Plant Biol 2020, 62 (11): 1674-1687.  
    DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12975
    Abstract (Browse 399)  |   Save

    Cell division is precisely regulated and highly tissue‐specific; studies have suggested that diverse signals in the epidermis, especially the epidermal brassinosteroids (BRs), can regulate root growth. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms that integrate hormonal cues such as BR signaling with other endogenous, tissue‐specific developmental programs to regulate epidermal cell proliferation remain unclear. In this study, we used molecular and biochemical approaches, microscopic imaging and genetic analysis to investigate the function and mechanisms of a P‐type cyclin in root growth regulation. We found that CYCP3;1, specifically expressed in the root meristem epidermis and lateral root cap, can regulate meristem cell division. Mitotic analyses and biochemical studies demonstrated that CYCP3;1 promotes cell division at the G2‐M duration by associating and activating cyclin‐dependent kinase B2‐1 (CDKB2;1). Furthermore, we found that CYCP3;1 expression was inhibited by BR signaling through BRI1‐EMS‐SUPPRESSOR1 (BES1), a positive downstream transcription factor in the BR signaling pathway. These findings not only provide a mechanism of how root epidermal‐specific regulators modulate root growth, but also reveal why the excess of BRs or enhanced BR signaling inhibits cell division in the meristem to negatively regulate root growth.

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    GBSS-BINDING PROTEIN , encoding a CBM48 domain-containing protein, affects rice quality and yield
    Wei Wang, Xiangjin Wei, Guiai Jiao, Wenqiang Chen, Yawen Wu, Zhonghua Sheng, Shikai Hu, Lihong Xie, Jiayu Wang, Shaoqing Tang and Peisong Hu
    J Integr Plant Biol 2020, 62 (7): 948-966.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12866
    Abstract (Browse 393)  |   Save

    The percentage of amylose in the endosperm of rice (Oryza sativa ) largely determines grain cooking and eating qualities. Granule‐bound starch synthase I (GBSSI) and GBSSII are responsible for amylose biosynthesis in the endosperm and leaf, respectively. Here, we identified OsGBP , a rice GBSS‐binding protein that interacted with GBSSI and GBSSII in vitro and in vivo . The total starch and amylose contents in osgbp mutants were significantly lower than those of wild type in leaves and grains, resulting in reduced grain weight and quality. The carbohydrate‐binding module 48 (CBM48) domain present in the C‐terminus of OsGBP is crucial for OsGBP binding to starch. In the osgbp mutant, the extent of GBSSI and GBSSII binding to starch in the leaf and endosperm was significantly lower than wild type. Our data suggest that OsGBP plays an important role in leaf and endosperm starch biosynthesis by mediating the binding of GBSS proteins to developing starch granules. This elucidation of the function of OsGBP enhances our understanding of the molecular basis of starch biosynthesis in rice and contributes information that can be potentially used for the genetic improvement of yield and grain quality.

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    MiR319-targeted OsTCP21 and OsGAmyb regulate tillering and grain yield in rice
    Rongna Wang, Xiuyan Yang, Shuang Guo, Zhaohui Wang, Zhanhui Zhang and Zhongming Fang
    J Integr Plant Biol 2021, 63 (7): 1260-1272.  
    DOI: 10.1111/jipb.13097
    Abstract (Browse 389)  |   Save
    Multiple genes and microRNAs (miRNAs) improve grain yield by promoting tillering. MiR319s are known to regulate several aspects of plant development; however, whether miR319s are essential for tillering regulation remains unclear. Here, we report that miR319 is highly expressed in the basal part of rice plant at different development stages. The miR319 knockdown line Short Tandem Target Mimic 319 (STTM319) showed higher tiller bud length in seedlings under low nitrogen (N) condition and higher tiller bud number under high N condition compared with the miR319a-overexpression line. Through targets prediction, we identified OsTCP21 and OsGAmyb as downstream targets of miR319. Moreover, OsTCP21 and OsGAmyb overexpression lines and STTM319 had increased tiller bud length and biomass, whereas both were decreased in OsTCP21 and OsGAmyb knockout lines and OE319a. These data suggest that miR319 regulates rice tiller bud development and tillering through targeting OsTCP21 and OsGAmyb. Notably, the tiller number and grain yield increased in STTM319 and overexpression lines of OsTCP21 and OsGAmyb but decreased in OE319a and knockout lines of OsTCP21 and OsGAmyb. Taken together, our findings indicate that miR319s negatively affect tiller number and grain yield by targeting OsTCP21 and OsGAmyb, revealing a novel function for miR319 in rice.
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    A recent retrotransposon insertion of J caused E6 locus facilitating soybean adaptation into low latitude
    Chao Fang, Jun Liu, Ting Zhang, Tong Su, Shichen Li, Qun Cheng, Lingping Kong, Xiaoming Li, Tiantian Bu, Haiyang Li, Lidong Dong, Sijia Lu, Fanjiang Kong and Baohui Liu
    J Integr Plant Biol 2021, 63 (6): 995-1003.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.13034
    Abstract (Browse 373)  |   Save
    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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    Genetic mapping of folate QTLs using a segregated population in maize
    Wenzhu Guo, Tong Lian, Baobao Wang, Jiantao Guan, Dong Yuan, Huan Wang, Fardous Mohammad Safiul Azam, Xing Wan, Weixuan Wang, Qiuju Liang, Haiyang Wang, Jinxing Tu, Chunyi Zhang and Ling Jiang
    J Integr Plant Biol 2019, 61 (6): 675-690.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12811
    Abstract (Browse 349)  |   Save
    As essential B vitamin for humans, folates accumulation in edible parts of crops, such as maize kernels, is of great importance for human health. But its breeding is always limited by the prohibitive cost of folate profiling. The molecular breeding is a more executable and efficient way for folate fortification, but is limited by the molecular knowledge of folate regulation. Here we report the genetic mapping of folate quantitative trait loci (QTLs) using a segregated population crossed by two maize lines, one high in folate (GEMS31) and the other low in folate (DAN3130). Two folate QTLs on chromosome 5 were obtained by the combination of F2 whole-exome sequencing and F3 kernel-folate profiling. These two QTLs had been confirmed by bulk segregant analysis using F6 pooled DNA and F7 kernel-folate profiling, and were overlapped with QTLs identified by another segregated population. These two QTLs contributed 41.6% of phenotypic variation of 5-formyltetrahydrofolate, the most abundant storage form among folate derivatives in dry maize grains, in the GEMS31×DAN3130 population. Their fine mapping and functional analysis will reveal details of folate metabolism, and provide a basis for marker-assisted breeding aimed at the enrichment of folates in maize kernels.
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    Brassinosteroids function in spikelet differentiation and degeneration in rice
    Weiyang Zhang, Kuanyu Zhu, Zhiqin Wang, Hao Zhang, Junfei Gu, Lijun Liu, Jianchang Yang and Jianhua Zhang
    J Integr Plant Biol 2019, 61 (8): 943-963.  
    DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12722
    Abstract (Browse 327)  |   Save

    Brassinosteroids (BRs) play crucial roles in many aspects of plant development. However, their function in spikelet differentiation and degeneration in rice (Oryza sativa L.) remains unclear. Here, we investigated the roles of these phytohormones in spikelet development in field‐grown rice subjected to five different nitrogen (N) fertilization treatments during panicle differentiation. BR levels and expression of genes involved in BR biosynthesis and signal transduction were measured in spikelets. Pollen fertility and the number of differentiated spikelets were closely associated with 24‐epicastasterone (24‐epiCS) and 28‐homobrassinolide (28‐homoBL) levels in spikelets. Enhanced BR biosynthesis and signal transduction, in response to N treatment, enhanced spikelet differentiation, reduced spikelet degeneration, and increased grain yield. Increases in proton‐pumping ATPase activity, ATP concentration, energy charge, and antioxidant system (AOS) levels were consistent with 24‐epiCS and 28‐homoBL concentrations. Exogenous application of 24‐epiCS or 28‐homoBL on young panicles induced a marked increase in endogenous 24‐epiCS or 28‐homoBL levels, energy charge, AOS levels, spikelet differentiation, and panicle weight. The opposite effects were observed following treatment with a BR biosynthesis inhibitor. Our findings indicate that, in rice, BRs mediate the effects of N fertilization on spikelet development and play a role in promoting spikelet development through increasing AOS levels and energy charge during panicle development.

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    GW5-Like, a homolog of GW5, negatively regulates grain width, weight and salt resistance in rice
    Peng Tian, Jiafan Liu, Changling Mou, Cuilan Shi, Huan Zhang, Zhichao Zhao, Qibin Lin, Jie Wang, Jiulin Wang, Xin Zhang, Xiuping Guo, Zhijun Cheng, Shanshan Zhu, Yulong Ren, Cailin Lei, Haiyang Wang and Jianmin Wan
    J Integr Plant Biol 2019, 61 (11): 1171-1185.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12745
    Abstract (Browse 326)  |   Save

    Grain size is an important determinant of yield potential in crops. We previously demonstrated that natural mutations in the regulatory sequences of qSW5/GW5 confer grain width diversity in rice. However, the biological function of a GW5 homolog, named GW5‐Like (GW5L), remains unknown. In this study, we report on GW5L knockout mutants in Kitaake, a japonica cultivar (cv.) considered to have a weak gw5 variant allele that confers shorter and wider grains. GW5L is evenly expressed in various tissues, and its protein product is localized to the plasma membrane. Biochemical assays verified that GW5L functions in a similar fashion to GW5. It positively regulates brassinosteroid (BR) signaling through repression of the phosphorylation activity of GSK2. Genetic data show that GW5L overexpression in either Kitaake or a GW5 knockout line, Kasaorf3 (indica cv. Kasalath background), causes more slender, longer grains relative to the wild‐type. We also show that GW5L could confer salt stress resistance through an association with calmodulin protein OsCaM1‐1. These findings identify GW5L as a negative regulator of both grain size and salt stress tolerance, and provide a potential target for breeders to improve grain yield and salt stress resistance in rice.

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    Production of very-high-amylose cassava by post-transcriptional silencing of branching enzyme genes
    Wenzhi Zhou, Shanshan Zhao, Shutao He, Qiuxiang Ma, Xinlu Lu, Xiaomeng Hao, Hongxia Wang, Jun Yang and Peng Zhang
    J Integr Plant Biol 2020, 62 (6): 832-846.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12848
    Abstract (Browse 322)  |   Save

    High amylose starch can be produced by plants deficient in the function of branching enzymes (BEs). Here we report the production of transgenic cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) with starches containing up to 50% amylose due to the constitutive expression of hair‐pin dsRNAs targeting the BE1 or BE2 genes. All BE1‐RNAi plant lines (BE1i) and BE2‐RNAi plant lines (BE2i) were grown up in the field, but with reduced total biomass production. Considerably high amylose content in the storage roots of BE2i plant lines was achieved. Storage starch granules of BE1i and BE2i plants had similar morphology as wild type (WT), however, the size of BE1i starch granules were bigger than that of WT. Comparisons of amylograms and thermograms of all three sources of storage starches revealed dramatic changes to the pasting properties and a higher melting temperature for BE2i starches. Glucan chain length distribution analysis showed a slight increase in chains of DP>36 in BE1i lines and a dramatic increase in glucan chains between DP 10‐20 and DP>40 in BE2i lines. Furthermore, BE2i starches displayed a B‐type X‐ray diffraction pattern instead of the A‐type pattern found in BE1i and WT starches. Therefore, cassava BE1 and BE2 function differently in storage root starch biosynthesis.

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    Genome-wide association study of callus induction variation to explore the callus formation mechanism of rice
    Zhaoyang Zhang, Hu Zhao, Wei Li, Jiemin Wu, Zaihui Zhou, Fei Zhou, Hao Chen and Yongjun Lin
    J Integr Plant Biol 2019, 61 (11): 1134-1150.  
    DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12759
    Abstract (Browse 320)  |   Save

    Rice (Oryza sativa) is one of the most widely cultivated food crops, worldwide. Tissue culture is extensively used in rice breeding and functional genome research. The ability to induce callus determines whether a particular rice variety can be subjected to tissue culture and Agrobacterium‐mediated transformation. Over the past two decades, many quantitative trait loci (QTLs) related to callus induction traits have been identified; however, individual genes associated with rice callus induction have not been reported. In this study, we characterized three callus‐induction traits in a global collection of 510 rice accessions. A genome‐wide association study of the rice population in its entirety as well as subpopulations revealed 21 significant loci located in rice callus induction QTLs. We identified three candidate callus induction genes, namely CRL1, OsBMM1, and OsSET1, which are orthologs of Arabidopsis LBD17/LBD29, BBM, and SWN, respectively, which are known to affect callus formation. Furthermore, we predicted that 14 candidate genes might be involved in rice callus induction and showed that RNA interference (RNAi)‐mediated disruption of OsIAA10 inhibited callus formation on tissue culture medium. Embryo growth in the OsIAA10 RNAi line was not inhibited by synthetic auxin (2,4‐D) treatment, suggesting that OsIAA10 may perceive auxin and activate the expression of downstream genes, such as CRL1, to induce callus formation. The significant loci and candidate genes identified here may provide insight into the mechanism underlying callus formation in rice.

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    N4‐methylcytidine ribosomal RNA methylation in chloroplasts is crucial for chloroplast function, development, and abscisic acid response in Arabidopsis
    Le Nguyen Tieu Ngoc, Su Jung Park, Trinh Thi Huong, Kwang Ho Lee and Hunseung Kang
    J Integr Plant Biol 2021, 63 (3): 570-582.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.13009
    Abstract (Browse 315)  |   Save
    Although the essential role of messenger RNA methylation in the nucleus is increasingly understood, the nature of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) methyltransferases and the role of rRNA methylation in chloroplasts remain largely unknown. A recent study revealed that CMAL (for Chloroplast mr aW‐ Like) is a chloroplast‐localized rRNA methyltransferase that is responsible for N4‐methylcytidine (m4C) in 16S chloroplast rRNA in Arabidopsis thaliana. In this study, we further examined the role of CMAL in chloroplast biogenesis and function, development, and hormone response. The cmal mutant showed reduced chlorophyll biosynthesis, photosynthetic activity, and growth‐defect phenotypes, including severely stunted stems, fewer siliques, and lower seed yield. The cmal mutant was hypersensitive to chloroplast translation inhibitors, such as lincomycin and erythromycin, indicating that the m4C‐methylation defect in the 16S rRNA leads to a reduced translational activity in chloroplasts. Importantly, the stunted stem of the cmal mutant was partially rescued by exogenous gibberellic acid or auxin. The cmal mutant grew poorer than wild type, whereas the CMAL‐overexpressing transgenic Arabidopsis plants grew better than wild type in the presence of abscisic acid. Altogether, these results indicate that CMAL is an indispensable rRNA methyltransferase in chloroplasts and is crucial for chloroplast biogenesis and function, photosynthesis, and hormone response during plant growth and development.
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    Increasing yield potential through manipulating of an ARE1 ortholog related to nitrogen use efficiency in wheat by CRISPR/Cas9
    Jiahui Zhang, Huating Zhang, Shaoya Li, Jingying Li, Lei Yan and Lanqin Xia
    J Integr Plant Biol 2021, 63 (9): 1649-1663.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.13151
    Abstract (Browse 309)  |   Save
    Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is a staple food crop consumed by more than 30% of world population. Nitrogen (N) fertilizer has been applied broadly in agriculture practice to improve wheat yield to meet the growing demands for food production. However, undue N fertilizer application and the low N use efficiency (NUE) of modern wheat varieties are aggravating environmental pollution and ecological deterioration. Under nitrogen-limiting conditions, the rice (Oryza sativa) abnormal cytokinin response1 repressor1 (are1) mutant exhibits increased NUE, delayed senescence and consequently, increased grain yield. However, the function of ARE1 ortholog in wheat remains unknown. Here, we isolated and characterized three TaARE1 homoeologs from the elite Chinese winter wheat cultivar ZhengMai 7698. We then used CRISPR/Cas9-mediated targeted mutagenesis to generate a series of transgene-free mutant lines either with partial or triple-null taare1 alleles. All transgene-free mutant lines showed enhanced tolerance to N starvation, and showed delayed senescence and increased grain yield in field conditions. In particular, the AABBdd and aabbDD mutant lines exhibited delayed senescence and significantly increased grain yield without growth defects compared to the wild-type control. Together, our results underscore the potential to manipulate ARE1 orthologs through gene editing for breeding of high-yield wheat as well as other cereal crops with improved NUE.
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    S -acylation of CBL10/SCaBP8 by PAT10 is crucial for its tonoplast association and function in salt tolerance
    Sen Chai, Fu-Rong Ge, Yan Zhang and Sha Li
    J Integr Plant Biol 2020, 62 (6): 718-722.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12864
    Abstract (Browse 308)  |   Save

    Crop yield is sensitive to salt stresses, for which Calcineurin B‐like proteins (CBLs) are major response factors. This study shows that Arabidopsis CBL10, through protein S ‐acylation by protein S ‐acyl transferase10, targets to the vacuolar membrane to confer salt tolerance.

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    QTL pyramiding for producing nutritious and safe rice grains
    Xin-Yuan Huang and Fang-Jie Zhao
    J Integr Plant Biol 2020, 62 (3): 264-268.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12920
    Abstract (Browse 305)  |   Save

    Breeding of rice varieties that are enriched with essential micronutrients and simultaneously have reduced levels of toxic elements in grains is largely unexplored in rice breeding practice. In this issue of JIPB, Liu et al. (2020) developed two rice lines with a low level of cadmium and simultaneously high levels of zinc or selenium accumulation in the grains, thus providing elite genetic materials for breeding rice varieties that are important for addressing mineral malnutrition and ensuring food safety.

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    Genetics of barley tiller and leaf development
    Salar Shaaf, Gianluca Bretani, Abhisek Biswas, Irene Maria Fontana and Laura Rossini
    J Integr Plant Biol 2019, 61 (3): 226-256.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12757
    Abstract (Browse 288)  |   Save
    In cereals, tillering and leaf development are key factors in the concept of crop ideotype, introduced in the 1960s to enhance crop yield, via manipulation of plant architecture. In the present review, we discuss advances in genetic analysis of barley shoot architecture, focusing on tillering, leaf size and angle. We also discuss novel phenotyping techniques, such as 2D and 3D imaging, that have been introduced in the era of phenomics, facilitating reliable trait measurement. We discuss the identification of genes and pathways that are involved in barley tillering and leaf development, highlighting key hormones involved in the control of plant architecture in barley and rice. Knowledge on genetic control of traits related to plant architecture provides useful resources for designing ideotypes for enhanced barley yield and performance.
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    Benefiting others and self: Production of vitamins in plants
    Yufei Li, Chenkun Yang, Hasan Ahmad, Mohamed Maher, Chuanying Fang and Jie Luo
    J Integr Plant Biol 2021, 63 (1): 210-227.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.13047
    Abstract (Browse 279)  |   Save
    Vitamins maintain growth and development in humans, animals, and plants. Because plants serve as essential producers of vitamins, increasing the vitamin contents in plants has become a goal of crop breeding worldwide. Here, we begin with a summary of the functions of vitamins. We then review the achievements to date in elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying how vitamins are synthesized, transported, and regulated in plants. We also stress the exploration of variation in vitamins by the use of forward genetic approaches, such as quantitative trait locus mapping and genome‐wide association studies. Overall, we conclude that exploring the diversity of vitamins could provide new insights into plant metabolism and crop breeding.
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    Acquisition of deleterious mutations during potato polyploidization
    Qun Lian, Die Tang, Zhiyan Bai, Jianjian Qi, Fei Lu, Sanwen Huang and Chunzhi Zhang
    J Integr Plant Biol 2019, 61 (1): 7-11.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12748
    Abstract (Browse 270)  |   Save
    Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) represent an important tuber crop, worldwide. During its prolonged clonal propagation, numerous deleterious mutations have accumulated in the potato genome, leading to severe inbreeding depression; however, the shaping of this mutation burden during polyploidization and improvement is largely unknown. Here, we sequenced 20 diploid landraces of the Stenotomum group, eight tetraploid landraces, and 20 tetraploid modern cultivars, to analyze variations in their deleterious mutations. We show that deleterious mutations accumulated rapidly during the polyploidization of tetraploid potatoes. This study provides a foundation for future potato improvement.
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    Is one-line hybrid rice coming?
    Xingming Hu, Fanmiao Wang and Makoto Matsuoka
    J Integr Plant Biol 2019, 61 (8): 908-910.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12854
    Abstract (Browse 238)  |   Save

    Hybrid rice proved to be high‐yielding and is of great importance to food safety worldwide. By using gene editing techniques, we generated one‐line hybrid rice by preventing meiosis from occurring, which can largely contribute to maintaining the hybrid dominance.

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    Involvement of sweet pepper CaLOX2 in jasmonate-dependent induced defence against Western flower thrips
    Sandeep J Sarde, Klaas Bouwmeester, Jhon Venegas-Molina, Anja David, Wilhelm Boland and Marcel Dicke
    J Integr Plant Biol 2019, 61 (10): 1085-1098.  
    doi: 10.1111/jipb.12742
    Abstract (Browse 237)  |   Save
    Insect herbivory can seriously hinder plant performance and reduce crop yield. Thrips are minute cell‐content‐feeding insects that are important vectors of viral plant pathogens, and are serious crop pests. We investigated the role of a sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum) lipoxygenase gene, CaLOX2, in the defense of pepper plants against Western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis). This was done through a combination of in‐silico, transcriptional, behavioral and chemical analyses. Our data show that CaLOX2 is involved in jasmonic acid (JA) biosynthesis and mediates plant resistance. Expression of the JA‐related marker genes, CaLOX2 and CaPIN II, was induced by thrips feeding. Silencing of CaLOX2 in pepper plants through virus‐induced gene silencing (VIGS) resulted in low levels of CaLOX2 transcripts, as well as significant reduction in the accumulation of JA, and its derivatives, upon thrips feeding compared to control plants. CaLOX2‐silenced pepper plants exhibited enhanced susceptibility to thrips. This indicates that CaLOX2 mediates JA‐dependent signaling, resulting in defense against thrips. Furthermore, exogenous application of JA to pepper plants increased plant resistance to thrips, constrained thrips population development and made plants less attractive to thrips. Thus, a multidisciplinary approach shows that an intact lipoxygenase pathway mediates various components of sweet pepper defense against F. occidentalis.
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