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Ppd-1 is a key regulator of inflorescence architecture and paired spikelet development in wheat

Nature Plants volume 1, Article number: 14016 (2015) | Download Citation

Abstract

The domestication of cereal crops such as wheat, maize, rice and barley has included the modification of inflorescence architecture to improve grain yield and ease harvesting1. Yield increases have often been achieved through modifying the number and arrangement of spikelets, which are specialized reproductive branches that form part of the inflorescence. Multiple genes that control spikelet development have been identified in maize, rice and barley2,​3,​4,​5. However, little is known about the genetic underpinnings of this process in wheat. Here, we describe a modified spikelet arrangement in wheat, termed paired spikelets. Combining comprehensive QTL and mutant analyses, we show that Photoperiod-1 (Ppd-1), a pseudo-response regulator gene that controls photoperiod-dependent floral induction, has a major inhibitory effect on paired spikelet formation by regulating the expression of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT)6,7. These findings show that modulated expression of the two important flowering genes, Ppd-1 and FT, can be used to form a wheat inflorescence with a more elaborate arrangement and increased number of grain producing spikelets.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Bjorg Sherman for technical assistance with plant husbandry, Mark Talbot for expert assistance with scanning electron microscopy and Carl Davies for photography. We thank Lindsay Shaw and Megan Hemming for helpful discussions. A CSIRO O.C.E. Postdoctoral Fellowship funded S.A.B.

Author information

Author notes

    • Scott A. Boden
    •  & Colin Cavanagh

    Present address: Department of Crop Genetics, John Innes Centre, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK (S.A.B.), Innovation Center, Bayer CropScience NV, Technologie Park 38, 9052 Zwijnaarde, Belgium (C.C.).

Affiliations

  1. CSIRO Agriculture Flagship, GPO Box 1600, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

    • Scott A. Boden
    • , Colin Cavanagh
    • , Kerrie Ramm
    • , Julian Greenwood
    • , E. Jean Finnegan
    • , Ben Trevaskis
    •  & Steve M. Swain
  2. National Institute for Applied Statistics Research Australia (NIASRA), School of Mathematics & Applied Statistics, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, 2522, Australia

    • Brian R. Cullis
  3. CSIRO Digital Productivity Flagship, GPO Box 1600, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

    • Brian R. Cullis
  4. Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia

    • Julian Greenwood

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Contributions

S.A.B., C.C., K.R., J.G., E.J.F., B.T. and S.M.S. performed experiments and collected phenotypic information. C.C. and B.R.C. designed the MAGIC experiments, performed QTL and statistical analysis. S.A.B., E.J.F., B.T. and S.M.S. contributed new materials. All authors contributed to the preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Steve M. Swain.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2014.16

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