Physical maps employing libraries of bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones are essential for comparative genomics and sequencing of large and repetitive genomes such as those of the hexaploid bread wheat. The diploid ancestor of the D-genome of hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum), Aegilops tauschii, is used as a resource for wheat genomics. The barley diploid genome also provides a good model for the Triticeae and T. aestivum since it is only slightly larger than the ancestor wheat D genome. Gene co-linearity between the grasses can be exploited by extrapolating from rice and Brachypodium distachyon to Ae. tauschii or barley, and then to wheat.
We report the use of Ae. tauschii for the construction of the physical map of a large distal region of chromosome arm 3DS. A physical map of 25.4 Mb was constructed by anchoring BAC clones of Ae. tauschii with 85 EST on the Ae. tauschii and barley genetic maps. The 24 contigs were aligned to the rice and B. distachyon genomic sequences and a high density SNP genetic map of barley. As expected, the mapped region is highly collinear to the orthologous chromosome 1 in rice, chromosome 2 in B. distachyon and chromosome 3H in barley. However, the chromosome scale of the comparative maps presented provides new insights into grass genome organization. The disruptions of the Ae. tauschii-rice and Ae. tauschii-Brachypodium syntenies were identical. We observed chromosomal rearrangements between Ae. tauschii and barley. The comparison of Ae. tauschii physical and genetic maps showed that the recombination rate across the region dropped from 2.19 cM/Mb in the distal region to 0.09 cM/Mb in the proximal region. The size of the gaps between contigs was evaluated by comparing the recombination rate along the map with the local recombination rates calculated on single contigs.
The physical map reported here is the first physical map using fingerprinting of a complete Triticeae genome. This study demonstrates that global fingerprinting of the large plant genomes is a viable strategy for generating physical maps. Physical maps allow the description of the co-linearity between wheat and grass genomes and provide a powerful tool for positional cloning of new genes.
Phosphomannomutase (PMM) is an essential enzyme in eukaryotes. However, little is known about PMM gene and function in crop plants. Here, we report molecular evolutionary and biochemical analysis of PMM genes in bread wheat and related Triticeae species.
Two sets of homoeologous PMM genes (TaPMM-1 and 2) were found in bread wheat, and two corresponding PMM genes were identified in the diploid progenitors of bread wheat and many other diploid Triticeae species. The duplication event yielding PMM-1 and 2 occurred before the radiation of diploid Triticeae genomes. The PMM gene family in wheat and relatives may evolve largely under purifying selection. Among the six TaPMM genes, the transcript levels of PMM-1 members were comparatively high and their recombinant proteins were all enzymatically active. However, PMM-2 homoeologs exhibited lower transcript levels, two of which were also inactive. TaPMM-A1, B1 and D1 were probably the main active isozymes in bread wheat tissues. The three isozymes differed from their counterparts in barley and Brachypodium distachyon in being more tolerant to elevated test temperatures.
Our work identified the genes encoding PMM isozymes in bread wheat and relatives, uncovered a unique PMM duplication event in diverse Triticeae species, and revealed the main active PMM isozymes in bread wheat tissues. The knowledge obtained here improves the understanding of PMM evolution in eukaryotic organisms, and may facilitate further investigations of PMM function in the temperature adaptability of bread wheat.
The patterns of expression of homoeologous genes in hexaploid bread wheat have been intensively studied in recent years, but the interaction between structural genes and their homoeologous regulatory genes remained unclear. The question was as to whether, in an allopolyploid, this interaction is genome-specific, or whether regulation cuts across genomes. The aim of the present study was cloning, sequence analysis, mapping and expression analysis of F3H (flavanone 3-hydroxylase – one of the key enzymes in the plant flavonoid biosynthesis pathway) homoeologues in bread wheat and study of the interaction between F3H and their regulatory genes homoeologues – Rc (red coleoptiles).
PCR-based cloning of F3H sequences from hexaploid bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), a wild tetraploid wheat (T. timopheevii) and their putative diploid progenitors was employed to localize, physically map and analyse the expression of four distinct bread wheat F3H copies. Three of these form a homoeologous set, mapping to the chromosomes of homoeologous group 2; they are highly similar to one another at the structural and functional levels. However, the fourth copy is less homologous, and was not expressed in anthocyanin pigmented coleoptiles. The presence of dominant alleles at the Rc-1 homoeologous loci, which are responsible for anthocyanin pigmentation in the coleoptile, was correlated with F3H expression in pigmented coleoptiles. Each dominant Rc-1 allele affected the expression of the three F3H homoeologues equally, but the level of F3H expression was dependent on the identity of the dominant Rc-1 allele present. Thus, the homoeologous Rc-1 genes contribute more to functional divergence than do the structural F3H genes.
The lack of any genome-specific relationship between F3H-1 and Rc-1 implies an integrative evolutionary process among the three diploid genomes, following the formation of hexaploid wheat. Regulatory genes probably contribute more to the functional divergence between the wheat genomes than do the structural genes themselves. This is in line with the growing consensus which suggests that although heritable morphological traits are determined by the expression of structural genes, it is the regulatory genes which are the prime determinants of allelic identity.
The tribe Triticeae includes the major crops wheat and barley. Within the last few years, the whole genomes of four Triticeae species—barley, wheat, Tausch’s goatgrass (Aegilops tauschii) and wild einkorn wheat (Triticum urartu)—have been sequenced. The availability of these genomic resources for Triticeae plants and innovative analytical applications using next-generation sequencing technologies are helping to revitalize our approaches in genetic work and to accelerate improvement of the Triticeae crops. Comparative genomics and integration of genomic resources from Triticeae plants and the model grass Brachypodium distachyon are aiding the discovery of new genes and functional analyses of genes in Triticeae crops. Innovative approaches and tools such as analysis of next-generation populations, evolutionary genomics and systems approaches with mathematical modeling are new strategies that will help us discover alleles for adaptive traits to future agronomic environments. In this review, we provide an update on genomic tools for use with Triticeae plants and Brachypodium and describe emerging approaches toward crop improvements in Triticeae.
Barley; Brachypodium; Crop improvement; Next-generation sequencing; Triticeae; Wheat
Polyploidization is considered one of the main mechanisms of plant genome evolution. The presence of multiple copies of the same gene reduces selection pressure and permits sub-functionalization and neo-functionalization leading to plant diversification, adaptation and speciation. In bread wheat, polyploidization and the prevalence of transposable elements resulted in massive gene duplication and movement. As a result, the number of genes which are non-collinear to genomes of related species seems markedly increased in wheat.
We used new-generation sequencing (NGS) to generate sequence of a Mb-sized region from wheat chromosome arm 3DS. Sequence assembly of 24 BAC clones resulted in two scaffolds of 1,264,820 and 333,768 bases. The sequence was annotated and compared to the homoeologous region on wheat chromosome 3B and orthologous loci of Brachypodium distachyon and rice. Among 39 coding sequences in the 3DS scaffolds, 32 have a homoeolog on chromosome 3B. In contrast, only fifteen and fourteen orthologs were identified in the corresponding regions in rice and Brachypodium, respectively. Interestingly, five pseudogenes were identified among the non-collinear coding sequences at the 3B locus, while none was found at the 3DS locus.
Direct comparison of two Mb-sized regions of the B and D genomes of bread wheat revealed similar rates of non-collinear gene insertion in both genomes with a majority of gene duplications occurring before their divergence. Relatively low proportion of pseudogenes was identified among non-collinear coding sequences. Our data suggest that the pseudogenes did not originate from insertion of non-functional copies, but were formed later during the evolution of hexaploid wheat. Some evidence was found for gene erosion along the B genome locus.
Wheat; BAC sequencing; Homoeologous genomes; Gene duplication; Non-collinear genes; Allopolyploidy
The Protein Disulfide Isomerase (PDI) gene family encodes several PDI and PDI-like proteins containing thioredoxin domains and controlling diversified metabolic functions, including disulfide bond formation and isomerisation during protein folding. Genomic, cDNA and promoter sequences of the three homoeologous wheat genes encoding the "typical" PDI had been cloned and characterized in a previous work. The purpose of present research was the cloning and characterization of the complete set of genes encoding PDI and PDI like proteins in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum cv Chinese Spring) and the comparison of their sequence, structure and expression with homologous genes from other plant species.
Eight new non-homoeologous wheat genes were cloned and characterized. The nine PDI and PDI-like sequences of wheat were located in chromosome regions syntenic to those in rice and assigned to eight plant phylogenetic groups. The nine wheat genes differed in their sequences, genomic organization as well as in the domain composition and architecture of their deduced proteins; conversely each of them showed high structural conservation with genes from other plant species in the same phylogenetic group. The extensive quantitative RT-PCR analysis of the nine genes in a set of 23 wheat samples, including tissues and developmental stages, showed their constitutive, even though highly variable expression.
The nine wheat genes showed high diversity, while the members of each phylogenetic group were highly conserved even between taxonomically distant plant species like the moss Physcomitrella patens. Although constitutively expressed the nine wheat genes were characterized by different expression profiles reflecting their different genomic organization, protein domain architecture and probably promoter sequences; the high conservation among species indicated the ancient origin and diversification of the still evolving gene family. The comprehensive structural and expression characterization of the complete set of PDI and PDI-like wheat genes represents a basis for the functional characterization of this gene family in the hexaploid context of bread wheat.
Mutational inactivation of plant genes is an essential tool in gene function studies. Plants with inactivated or deleted genes may also be exploited for crop improvement if such mutations/deletions produce a desirable agronomical and/or quality phenotype. However, the use of mutational gene inactivation/deletion has been impeded in polyploid plant species by genetic redundancy, as polyploids contain multiple copies of the same genes (homoeologous genes) encoded by each of the ancestral genomes. Similar to many other crop plants, bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is polyploid; specifically allohexaploid possessing three progenitor genomes designated as 'A', 'B', and 'D'. Recently modified TILLING protocols have been developed specifically for mutation detection in wheat. Whilst extremely powerful in detecting single nucleotide changes and small deletions, these methods are not suitable for detecting whole gene deletions. Therefore, high-throughput methods for screening of candidate homoeologous gene deletions are needed for application to wheat populations generated by the use of certain mutagenic agents (e.g. heavy ion irradiation) that frequently generate whole-gene deletions.
To facilitate the screening for specific homoeologous gene deletions in hexaploid wheat, we have developed a TaqMan qPCR-based method that allows high-throughput detection of deletions in homoeologous copies of any gene of interest, provided that sufficient polymorphism (as little as a single nucleotide difference) amongst homoeologues exists for specific probe design. We used this method to identify deletions of individual TaPFT1 homoeologues, a wheat orthologue of the disease susceptibility and flowering regulatory gene PFT1 in Arabidopsis. This method was applied to wheat nullisomic-tetrasomic lines as well as other chromosomal deletion lines to locate the TaPFT1 gene to the long arm of chromosome 5. By screening of individual DNA samples from 4500 M2 mutant wheat lines generated by heavy ion irradiation, we detected multiple mutants with deletions of each TaPFT1 homoeologue, and confirmed these deletions using a CAPS method. We have subsequently designed, optimized, and applied this method for the screening of homoeologous deletions of three additional wheat genes putatively involved in plant disease resistance.
We have developed a method for automated, high-throughput screening to identify deletions of individual homoeologues of a wheat gene. This method is also potentially applicable to other polyploidy plants.
Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) has a large and highly repetitive genome which poses major technical challenges for its study. To aid map-based cloning and future genome sequencing projects, we constructed a BAC-based physical map of the short arm of wheat chromosome 1A (1AS). From the assembly of 25,918 high information content (HICF) fingerprints from a 1AS-specific BAC library, 715 physical contigs were produced that cover almost 99% of the estimated size of the chromosome arm. The 3,414 BAC clones constituting the minimum tiling path were end-sequenced. Using a gene microarray containing ∼40 K NCBI UniGene EST clusters, PCR marker screening and BAC end sequences, we arranged 160 physical contigs (97 Mb or 35.3% of the chromosome arm) in a virtual order based on synteny with Brachypodium, rice and sorghum. BAC end sequences and information from microarray hybridisation was used to anchor 3.8 Mbp of Illumina sequences from flow-sorted chromosome 1AS to BAC contigs. Comparison of genetic and synteny-based physical maps indicated that ∼50% of all genetic recombination is confined to 14% of the physical length of the chromosome arm in the distal region. The 1AS physical map provides a framework for future genetic mapping projects as well as the basis for complete sequencing of chromosome arm 1AS.
In the South Australian wheat belt, cyclic drought is a frequent event represented by intermittent periods of rainfall which can occur around anthesis and post-anthesis in wheat. Three South Australian bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars, Excalibur, Kukri, and RAC875, were evaluated in one greenhouse and two growth-room experiments. In the first growth-room experiment, where plants were subjected to severe cyclic water-limiting conditions, RAC875 and Excalibur (drought-tolerant) showed significantly higher grain yield under cyclic water availability compared to Kukri (drought-susceptible), producing 44% and 18% more grain compared to Kukri, respectively. In the second growth-room experiment, where plants were subjected to a milder drought stress, the differences between cultivars were less pronounced, with only RAC875 showing significantly higher grain yield under the cyclic water treatment. Grain number per spike and the percentage of aborted tillers were the major components that affected yield under cyclic water stress. Excalibur and RAC875 adopted different morpho-physiological traits and mechanisms to reduce water stress. Excalibur was most responsive to cyclic water availability and showed the highest level of osmotic adjustment (OA), high stomatal conductance, lowest ABA content, and rapid recovery from stress under cyclic water stress. RAC875 was more conservative and restrained, with moderate OA, high leaf waxiness, high chlorophyll content, and slower recovery from stress. Within this germplasm, the capacity for osmotic adjustment was the main physiological attribute associated with tolerance under cyclic water stress which enabled plants to recover from water deficit.
Cyclic drought; osmotic adjustment; wheat
Grain texture is one of the most important characteristics in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Puroindoline-D1 genes play the main role in controlling grain texture and are intimately associated with the milling and processing qualities in bread wheat.
A series of diagnostic molecular markers and dCAPS markers were used to characterize Pina-D1 and Pinb-D1 in 493 wheat cultivars from diverse geographic locations. A primer walking strategy was used to characterize PINA-null alleles at the DNA level. Results indicated that Chinese landraces encompassing 12 different Puroindoline-D1 allelic combinations showed the highest diversity, while CIMMYT wheat cultivars containing 3 different Puroindoline-D1 allelic combinations showed the lowest diversity amongst wheat cultivars from the five countries surveyed. Two novel Pina-D1 alleles, designated Pina-D1s with a 4,422-bp deletion and Pina-D1u with a 6,460-bp deletion in the Ha (Hardness) locus, were characterized at the DNA level by a primer walking strategy, and corresponding molecular markers Pina-N3 and Pina-N4 were developed for straightforward identification of the Pina-D1s and Pina-D1u alleles. Analysis of the association of Puroindoline-D1 alleles with grain texture indicated that wheat cultivars with Pina-null/Pinb-null allele, possessing an approximate 33-kb deletion in the Ha locus, have the highest SKCS hardness index amongst the different genotypes used in this study. Moreover, wheat cultivars with the PINA-null allele have significantly higher SKCS hardness index than those of Pinb-D1b and Pinb-D1p alleles.
Molecular characterization of the Puroindoline-D1 allele was investigated in bread wheat cultivars from five geographic regions, resulting in the discovery of two new alleles - Pina-D1s and Pina-D1u. Molecular markers were developed for both alleles. Analysis of the association of the Puroindoline-D1 alleles with grain texture showed that cultivars with PINA-null allele possessed relatively high SKCS hardness index. This study can provide useful information for the improvement of wheat quality, as well as give a deeper understanding of the molecular and genetic processes controlling grain texture in bread wheat.
Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.); Puroindoline-D1 genes; Grain texture; Primer walking; Functional marker
Few genes are available to develop drought-tolerant bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars. One way to enhance bread wheat’s genetic diversity would be to take advantage of the diversity of wild species by creating synthetic hexaploid wheat (SW) with the genomic constitution of bread wheat. In this study, we compared the expression of traits encoded at different ploidy levels and evaluated the applicability of Aegilops tauschii drought-related traits using 33 Ae. tauschii accessions along with their corresponding SW lines under well-watered and drought conditions. We found wide variation in Ae. tauschii, and even wider variation in the SW lines. Some SW lines were more drought-tolerant than the standard cultivar Cham 6. Aegilops tauschii from some regions gave better performing SW lines. The traits of Ae. tauschii were not significantly correlated with their corresponding SW lines, indicating that the traits expressed in wild diploid relatives of wheat may not predict the traits that will be expressed in SW lines derived from them. We suggest that, regardless of the adaptability and performance of the Ae. tauschii under drought, production of SW could probably result in genotypes with enhanced trait expression due to gene interactions, and that the traits of the synthetic should be evaluated in hexaploid level.
wheat; Aegilops tauschii; synthetic hexaploid wheat; wild relatives of wheat
Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) is a powerful tool for genome-wide transcription studies. Unlike microarrays, it has the ability to detect novel forms of RNA such as alternatively spliced and antisense transcripts, without the need for prior knowledge of their existence. One limitation of using SAGE on an organism with a complex genome and lacking detailed sequence information, such as the hexaploid bread wheat Triticum aestivum, is accurate annotation of the tags generated. Without accurate annotation it is impossible to fully understand the dynamic processes involved in such complex polyploid organisms. Hence we have developed and utilised novel procedures to characterise, in detail, SAGE tags generated from the whole grain transcriptome of hexaploid wheat.
Examination of 71,930 Long SAGE tags generated from six libraries derived from two wheat genotypes grown under two different conditions suggested that SAGE is a reliable and reproducible technique for use in studying the hexaploid wheat transcriptome. However, our results also showed that in poorly annotated and/or poorly sequenced genomes, such as hexaploid wheat, considerably more information can be extracted from SAGE data by carrying out a systematic analysis of both perfect and "fuzzy" (partially matched) tags. This detailed analysis of the SAGE data shows first that while there is evidence of alternative polyadenylation this appears to occur exclusively within the 3' untranslated regions. Secondly, we found no strong evidence for widespread alternative splicing in the developing wheat grain transcriptome. However, analysis of our SAGE data shows that antisense transcripts are probably widespread within the transcriptome and appear to be derived from numerous locations within the genome. Examination of antisense transcripts showing sequence similarity to the Puroindoline a and Puroindoline b genes suggests that such antisense transcripts might have a role in the regulation of gene expression.
Our results indicate that the detailed analysis of transcriptome data, such as SAGE tags, is essential to understand fully the factors that regulate gene expression and that such analysis of the wheat grain transcriptome reveals that antisense transcripts maybe widespread and hence probably play a significant role in the regulation of gene expression during grain development.
Chromosome pairing, recombination and DNA repair are essential processes during meiosis in sexually reproducing organisms. Investigating the bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Ph2 (Pairing homoeologous) locus has identified numerous candidate genes that may have a role in controlling such processes, including TaMSH7, a plant specific member of the DNA mismatch repair family.
Sequencing of the three MSH7 genes, located on the short arms of wheat chromosomes 3A, 3B and 3D, has revealed no significant sequence divergence at the amino acid level suggesting conservation of function across the homoeogroups. Functional analysis of MSH7 through the use of RNAi loss-of-function transgenics was undertaken in diploid barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Quantitative real-time PCR revealed several T0 lines with reduced MSH7 expression. Positive segregants from two T1 lines studied in detail showed reduced MSH7 expression when compared to transformed controls and null segregants. Expression of MSH6, another member of the mismatch repair family which is most closely related to the MSH7 gene, was not significantly reduced in these lines. In both T1 lines, reduced seed set in positive segregants was observed.
Results presented here indicate, for the first time, a distinct functional role for MSH7 in vivo and show that expression of this gene is necessary for wild-type levels of fertility. These observations suggest that MSH7 has an important function during meiosis and as such remains a candidate for Ph2.
Nitrogen uptake and the efficient absorption and metabolism of nitrogen are essential elements in attempts to breed improved cereal cultivars for grain or silage production. One of the enzymes related to nitrogen metabolism is glutamine-2-oxoglutarate amidotransferase (GOGAT). Together with glutamine synthetase (GS), GOGAT maintains the flow of nitrogen from NH4+ into glutamine and glutamate, which are then used for several aminotransferase reactions during amino acid synthesis.
The aim of the present work was to identify and analyse the structure of wheat NADH-GOGAT genomic sequences, and study the expression in two durum wheat cultivars characterized by low and high kernel protein content. The genomic sequences of the three homoeologous A, B and D NADH-GOGAT genes were obtained for hexaploid Triticum aestivum and the tetraploid A and B genes of Triticum turgidum ssp. durum. Analysis of the gene sequences indicates that all wheat NADH-GOGAT genes are composed of 22 exons and 21 introns. The three hexaploid wheat homoeologous genes have high conservation of sequence except intron 13 which shows differences in both length and sequence. A comparative analysis of sequences among di- and mono-cotyledonous plants shows both regions of high conservation and of divergence. qRT-PCR performed with the two durum wheat cvs Svevo and Ciccio (characterized by high and low protein content, respectively) indicates different expression levels of the two NADH-GOGAT-3A and NADH-GOGAT-3B genes.
The three hexaploid wheat homoeologous NADH-GOGAT gene sequences are highly conserved – consistent with the key metabolic role of this gene. However, the dicot and monocot amino acid sequences show distinctive patterns, particularly in the transit peptide, the exon 16–17 junction, and the C-terminus. The lack of conservation in the transit peptide may indicate subcellular differences between the two plant divisions - while the sequence conservation within enzyme functional domains remains high. Higher expression levels of NADH-GOGAT are associated with higher grain protein content in two durum wheats.
The transfer of genes between Triticum aestivum (hexaploid bread wheat) and T. turgidum (tetraploid durum wheat) holds considerable potential for genetic improvement of both these closely related species. Five different T. aestivum/T. turgidum ssp. durum crosses were investigated using Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) markers to determine the inheritance of parental A, B and D genome material in subsequent generations derived from these crosses. The proportions of A, B and D chromosomal segments inherited from the hexaploid parent were found to vary significantly among individual crosses. F2 populations retained widely varying quantities of D genome material, ranging from 99% to none. The relative inheritance of bread wheat and durum alleles in the A and B genomes of derived lines also varied among the crosses. Within any one cross, progeny without D chromosomes in general had significantly more A and B genome durum alleles than lines retaining D chromosomes. The ability to select for and manipulate this non-random segregation in bread wheat/durum crosses will assist in efficient backcrossing of selected characters into the recurrent durum or hexaploid genotype of choice. This study illustrates the utility of DArT markers in the study of inter-specific crosses to commercial crop species.
Triticum aestivum; Triticum turgidum; pentaploid crosses; DArTs
Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is an important staple food. However, wheat gluten proteins cause celiac disease (CD) in 0.5 to 1% of the general population. Among these proteins, the α-gliadins contain several peptides that are associated to the disease.
We obtained 230 distinct α-gliadin gene sequences from severaldiploid wheat species representing the ancestral A, B, and D genomes of the hexaploid bread wheat. The large majority of these sequences (87%) contained an internal stop codon. All α-gliadin sequences could be distinguished according to the genome of origin on the basis of sequence similarity, of the average length of the polyglutamine repeats, and of the differences in the presence of four peptides that have been identified as T cell stimulatory epitopes in CD patients through binding to HLA-DQ2/8. By sequence similarity, α-gliadins from the public database of hexaploid T. aestivum could be assigned directly to chromosome 6A, 6B, or 6D. T. monococcum (A genome) sequences, as well as those from chromosome 6A of bread wheat, almost invariably contained epitope glia-α9 and glia-α20, but never the intact epitopes glia-α and glia-α2. A number of sequences from T. speltoides, as well as a number of sequences fromchromosome 6B of bread wheat, did not contain any of the four T cell epitopes screened for. The sequences from T. tauschii (D genome), as well as those from chromosome 6D of bread wheat, were found to contain all of these T cell epitopes in variable combinations per gene. The differences in epitope composition resulted mainly from point mutations. These substitutions appeared to be genome specific.
Our analysis shows that α-gliadin sequences from the three genomes of bread wheat form distinct groups. The four known T cell stimulatory epitopes are distributed non-randomly across the sequences, indicating that the three genomes contribute differently to epitope content. A systematic analysis of all known epitopes in gliadins and glutenins will lead to better understanding of the differences in toxicity among wheat varieties. On the basis of such insight, breeding strategies can be designed to generate less toxic varieties of wheat which may be tolerated by at least part of the CD patient population.
A genome-wide assessment of nucleotide diversity in a polyploid species must minimize the inclusion of homoeologous sequences into diversity estimates and reliably allocate individual haplotypes into their respective genomes. The same requirements complicate the development and deployment of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers in polyploid species. We report here a strategy that satisfies these requirements and deploy it in the sequencing of genes in cultivated hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum, genomes AABBDD) and wild tetraploid wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccoides, genomes AABB) from the putative site of wheat domestication in Turkey. Data are used to assess the distribution of diversity among and within wheat genomes and to develop a panel of SNP markers for polyploid wheat.
Nucleotide diversity was estimated in 2114 wheat genes and was similar between the A and B genomes and reduced in the D genome. Within a genome, diversity was diminished on some chromosomes. Low diversity was always accompanied by an excess of rare alleles. A total of 5,471 SNPs was discovered in 1791 wheat genes. Totals of 1,271, 1,218, and 2,203 SNPs were discovered in 488, 463, and 641 genes of wheat putative diploid ancestors, T. urartu, Aegilops speltoides, and Ae. tauschii, respectively. A public database containing genome-specific primers, SNPs, and other information was constructed. A total of 987 genes with nucleotide diversity estimated in one or more of the wheat genomes was placed on an Ae. tauschii genetic map, and the map was superimposed on wheat deletion-bin maps. The agreement between the maps was assessed.
In a young polyploid, exemplified by T. aestivum, ancestral species are the primary source of genetic diversity. Low effective recombination due to self-pollination and a genetic mechanism precluding homoeologous chromosome pairing during polyploid meiosis can lead to the loss of diversity from large chromosomal regions. The net effect of these factors in T. aestivum is large variation in diversity among genomes and chromosomes, which impacts the development of SNP markers and their practical utility. Accumulation of new mutations in older polyploid species, such as wild emmer, results in increased diversity and its more uniform distribution across the genome.
Aegilops tauschii Coss. is the D-genome donor to hexaploid bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) and is the most promising wild species as a genetic resource for wheat breeding. To study the population structure and diversity of 81 Ae. tauschii accessions collected from various regions of its geographical distribution, the genomic representation of these lines were used to develop a diversity array technology (DArT) marker array. This Ae. tauschii array and a previously developed DArT wheat array were used to scan the genomes of the 81 accessions. Out of 7500 markers (5500 wheat and 2000 Ae. tauschii), 4449 were polymorphic (3776 wheat and 673 Ae. tauschii). Phylogenetic and population structure studies revealed that the accessions could be divided into three groups. The two Ae. tauschii subspecies could also be separately clustered, suggesting that the current taxonomy might be valid. DArT markers are effective to detect very small polymorphisms. The information obtained about Ae. tauschii in the current study could be useful for wheat breeding. In addition, the new DArT array from this Ae. tauschii population is expected to be an effective tool for hexaploid wheat studies.
Aegilops tauschii; Triticum aestivum; synthetic wheat; DArT markers; drought tolerance
The genus Triticum includes bread (Triticum aestivum) and durum wheat (Triticum durum) and constitutes a major source for human food consumption. Drought is currently the leading threat on world's food supply, limiting crop yield, and is complicated since drought tolerance is a quantitative trait with a complex phenotype affected by the plant's developmental stage. Drought tolerance is crucial to stabilize and increase food production since domestication has limited the genetic diversity of crops including wild wheat, leading to cultivated species, adapted to artificial environments, and lost tolerance to drought stress. Improvement for drought tolerance can be achieved by the introduction of drought-grelated genes and QTLs to modern wheat cultivars. Therefore, identification of candidate molecules or loci involved in drought tolerance is necessary, which is undertaken by “omics” studies and QTL mapping. In this sense, wild counterparts of modern varieties, specifically wild emmer wheat (T. dicoccoides), which are highly tolerant to drought, hold a great potential. Prior to their introgression to modern wheat cultivars, drought related candidate genes are first characterized at the molecular level, and their function is confirmed via transgenic studies. After integration of the tolerance loci, specific environment targeted field trials are performed coupled with extensive analysis of morphological and physiological characteristics of developed cultivars, to assess their performance under drought conditions and their possible contributions to yield in certain regions. This paper focuses on recent advances on drought related gene/QTL identification, studies on drought related molecular pathways, and current efforts on improvement of wheat cultivars for drought tolerance.
Receptor-like kinases (RLKs) play broad biological roles in plants. We report on a conserved receptor-like protein kinase (RPK) gene from wheat and other Triticeae species. The TaRPK1 was isolated from the Triticum aestivum cv. Prins - Triticum timopheevii introgression line IGVI-465 carrying the powdery mildew resistance gene Pm6. The TaRPK1 was mapped to homoeologous chromosomes 2A (TaRPK1-2A), 2D (TaRPK1-2D) and the Pm6-carrier chromosome 2G (TaRPK1-2G) of IGVI-465. Under the tested conditions, only the TaRPK1-2G allele was actively transcribed, producing two distinct transcripts via alternative splicing. The predicted 424-amino acid protein of TaRPK1-2G contained a signal peptide, a transmembrane domain and an intracellular serine/threonine kinase domain, but lacked a typical extracellular domain. The expression of TaRPK1-2G gene was up-regulated upon the infection by Blumeria graminis f.sp. tritici (Bgt) and treatment with methyl jasmonate (MeJA), but down-regulated in response to treatments of SA and ABA. Over-expression of TaRPK1-2G in the powdery mildew susceptible wheat variety Prins by a transient expression assay showed that it slightly reduced the haustorium index of the infected Bgt. These data indicated that TaRPK1-2G participated in the defense response to Bgt infection and in the JA signaling pathway. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that TaRPK1-2G was highly conserved among plant species, and the amino acid sequence similarity of TaRPK1-2G among grass species was more than 86%. Based on its conservation, the RPK gene-based STS primers were designed, and used to amplify the RPK orthologs from the homoeologous group-2 chromosomes of all the tested Triticeae species, such as chromosome 2G of T. timopheevii, 2R of Secale cereale, 2H of Hordeum vulgare, 2S of Aegilops speltoides, 2Sl of Ae. longissima, 2Mg of Ae. geniculata, 2Sp and 2Up of Ae. peregrina. The developed STS markers serve as conserved functional markers for the identification of homoeologous group-2 chromosomes of the Triticeae species.
The functional annotation of genes based on sequence homology with genes from model species genomes is time-consuming because it is necessary to mine several unrelated databases. The aim of the present work was to develop a functional annotation database for common wheat Triticum aestivum (L.). The database, named dbWFA, is based on the reference NCBI UniGene set, an expressed gene catalogue built by expressed sequence tag clustering, and on full-length coding sequences retrieved from the TriFLDB database. Information from good-quality heterogeneous sources, including annotations for model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. and Oryza sativa L., was gathered and linked to T. aestivum sequences through BLAST-based homology searches. Even though the complexity of the transcriptome cannot yet be fully appreciated, we developed a tool to easily and promptly obtain information from multiple functional annotation systems (Gene Ontology, MapMan bin codes, MIPS Functional Categories, PlantCyc pathway reactions and TAIR gene families). The use of dbWFA is illustrated here with several query examples. We were able to assign a putative function to 45% of the UniGenes and 81% of the full-length coding sequences from TriFLDB. Moreover, comparison of the annotation of the whole T. aestivum UniGene set along with curated annotations of the two model species assessed the accuracy of the annotation provided by dbWFA. To further illustrate the use of dbWFA, genes specifically expressed during the early cell division or late storage polymer accumulation phases of T. aestivum grain development were identified using a clustering analysis and then annotated using dbWFA. The annotation of these two sets of genes was consistent with previous analyses of T. aestivum grain transcriptomes and proteomes.
Using a series of multiplexed experiments we studied the quantitative changes in protein abundance of three Australian bread wheat cultivars (Triticum aestivum L.) in response to a drought stress. Three cultivars differing in their ability to maintain grain yield during drought, Kukri (intolerant), Excalibur (tolerant), and RAC875 (tolerant), were grown in the glasshouse with cyclic drought treatment that mimicked conditions in the field. Proteins were isolated from leaves of mature plants and isobaric tags were used to follow changes in the relative protein abundance of 159 proteins. This is the first shotgun proteomics study in wheat, providing important insights into protein responses to drought as well as identifying the largest number of wheat proteins (1,299) in a single study. The changes in the three cultivars at the different time points reflected their differing physiological responses to drought, with the two drought tolerant varieties (Excalibur and RAC875) differing in their protein responses. Excalibur lacked significant changes in proteins during the initial onset of the water deficit in contrast to RAC875 that had a large number of significant changes. All three cultivars had changes consistent with an increase in oxidative stress metabolism and reactive O2 species (ROS) scavenging capacity seen through increases in superoxide dismutases and catalases as well as ROS avoidance through the decreases in proteins involved in photosynthesis and the Calvin cycle.
Triticum aestivum; bread wheat; drought; quantitative proteomics; iTRAQ
Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is one of the most important crops cultivated worldwide. Identifying the complete transcriptome of wheat grain could serve as foundation for further study of wheat seed development. However, the relatively large size and the polyploid complexity of the genome have been substantial barriers to molecular genetics and transcriptome analysis of wheat. Alternatively, RNA sequencing has provided some useful information about wheat genes. However, because of the large number of short reads generated by RNA sequencing, factors that are crucial to transcriptome assembly, including software, candidate parameters and assembly strategies, need to be optimized and evaluated for wheat data. In the present study, four cDNA libraries associated with wheat grain development were constructed and sequenced. A total of 14.17 Gb of high-quality reads were obtained and used to assess different assembly strategies. The most successful approach was to filter the reads with Q30 prior to de novo assembly using Trinity, merge the assembled contigs with genes available in wheat cDNA reference data sets, and combine the resulting assembly with an assembly from a reference-based strategy. Using this approach, a relatively accurate and nearly complete transcriptome associated with wheat grain development was obtained, suggesting that this is an effective strategy for generation of a high-quality transcriptome from RNA sequencing data.
The development of plant gene transfer systems has allowed for the introgression of alien genes into plant genomes for novel disease control strategies, thus providing a mechanism for broadening the genetic resources available to plant breeders. Using the tools of plant genetic engineering, a broad-spectrum antimicrobial gene was tested for resistance against head blight caused by Fusarium graminearum Schwabe, a devastating disease of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) that reduces both grain yield and quality.
A construct containing a bovine lactoferrin cDNA was used to transform wheat using an Agrobacterium-mediated DNA transfer system to express this antimicrobial protein in transgenic wheat. Transformants were analyzed by Northern and Western blots to determine lactoferrin gene expression levels and were inoculated with the head blight disease fungus F. graminearum. Transgenic wheat showed a significant reduction of disease incidence caused by F. graminearum compared to control wheat plants. The level of resistance in the highly susceptible wheat cultivar Bobwhite was significantly higher in transgenic plants compared to control Bobwhite and two untransformed commercial wheat cultivars, susceptible Wheaton and tolerant ND 2710. Quantification of the expressed lactoferrin protein by ELISA in transgenic wheat indicated a positive correlation between the lactoferrin gene expression levels and the levels of disease resistance.
Introgression of the lactoferrin gene into elite commercial wheat, barley and other susceptible cereals may enhance resistance to F. graminearum.
A small RNA library was used to identify 58 miRNAs from 43 miRNA families from wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and 46 potential targets were predicted.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small, non-coding regulatory RNAs that regulate gene expression by guiding target mRNA cleavage or translational inhibition. So far, identification of miRNAs has been limited to a few model plant species, such as Arabidopsis, rice and Populus, whose genomes have been sequenced. Wheat is one of the most important cereal crops worldwide. To date, only a few conserved miRNAs have been predicted in wheat and the computational identification of wheat miRNAs requires the genome sequence, which is unknown.
To identify novel as well as conserved miRNAs in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), we constructed a small RNA library. High throughput sequencing of the library and subsequent analysis revealed the identification of 58 miRNAs, comprising 43 miRNA families. Of these, 35 miRNAs belong to 20 conserved miRNA families. The remaining 23 miRNAs are novel and form 23 miRNA families in wheat; more importantly, 4 of these new miRNAs (miR506, miR510, miR514 and miR516) appear to be monocot-specific. Northern blot analysis indicated that some of the new miRNAs are preferentially expressed in certain tissues. Based on sequence homology, we predicted 46 potential targets. Thus, we have identified a large number of monocot-specific and wheat-specific miRNAs. These results indicate that both conserved and wheat-specific miRNAs play important roles in wheat growth and development, stress responses and other physiological processes.
This study led to the discovery of 58 wheat miRNAs comprising 43 miRNA families; 20 of these families are conserved and 23 are novel in wheat. It provides a first large scale cloning and characterization of wheat miRNAs and their predicted targets.