Polymorphic homoeolog of key gene of RdDM pathway, ARGONAUTE4_9 class is associated with Pre-harvest Sprouting in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)

Singh, M., Singh, S., Randhawa, H.S., and Singh, J. (2013). "Polymorphic homoeolog of key gene of RdDM pathway, ARGONAUTE4_9 class is associated with Pre-harvest Sprouting in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)", PLoS ONE, 8(10), pp. e77009. doi : 10.1371/journal.pone.0077009  Access to full text

Abstract

Resistance to pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) is an important objective for the genetic improvement of many cereal crops, including wheat. Resistance, or susceptibility, to PHS is mainly influenced by seed dormancy, a complex trait. Reduced seed dormancy is the most important aspect of seed germination on a spike prior to harvesting, but it is influenced by various environmental factors including light, temperature and abiotic stresses. The basic genetic framework of seed dormancy depends on the antagonistic action of abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellic acid (GA) to promote dormancy and germination. Recent studies have revealed a role for epigenetic changes, predominantly histone modifications, in controlling seed dormancy. To investigate the role of DNA methylation in seed dormancy, we explored the role of ARGONAUTE4_9 class genes in seed development and dormancy in wheat. Our results indicate that the two wheat AGO4_9 class genes i.e. AGO802 and AGO804 map to chromosomes 3S and 1S are preferentially expressed in the embryos of developing seeds. Differential expressions of AGO802-B in the embryos of PHS resistant and susceptible varieties also relates with DNA polymorphism in various wheat varieties due to an insertion of a SINE-like element into this gene. DNA methylation patterns of the embryonic tissue from six PHS resistant and susceptible varieties demonstrate a correlation with this polymorphism. These results suggest a possible role for AGO802-B in seed dormancy and PHS resistance through the modulation of DNA methylation.

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