Okayama University


Regulator genes for seed maturation in wheat were identified

October 15, 2014

The research group at the Okayama University Institute of Plant Science and Resources has identified genes that regulate wheat seed maturation and shown the relationship between the genes and wheat seed dormancy.

The findings were published online on Sep. 11, 2014 in the journal PLoS One.

“Germination on ear” is caused by rain in the crop season and leads to starch degradation that inflicts serious damage to crops such as wheat and oat. Regulation of germination on ear is strongly associated with seed dormancy. It is known that seed maturation is regulated by four genes in Arabidopsis. The four genes (LEC1, LEC2, FUS3, VP1) are also known as regulators for seed dormancy. In this study, the homologous genes (TaL1LA, TaL2LA, TaFUS3) with LEC1, LEC2, and FUS3 were identified in wheat for the first time. Furthermore, the function of the genes was investigated and it was revealed that the expression level of the genes correlates with the level of seed dormancy.

Germination on ear causes great damage to wheat crops around the world. The genes for seed maturation regulate not only the seed dormancy but also the storage of proteins and lipids in seeds. Further investigation of the genes' function is expected to lead to the improvement of the seed quality and crop production of wheat, oat and other monocots.

Contact Information:
Mototaka Senda, Ph.D.
US Representative
Intellectual Property Office, Organization for Research Promotion and Collaboration, Okayama University
Fremont, California USA
TEL: 1-510-797-0907
Email: takasenda@okayama-u.ac.jp

Kazuhide Rikiishi, Ph.D.
Institute of Plant Science and Resources, Okayama University, Okayama Japan