Key message: Two key barley genes independently control anthesis and senescence timing, enabling the manipulation of grain fill duration, grain size/plumpness, and grain protein concentration. Abstract: Plant developmental processes such as flowering and senescence have direct effects on cereal yield and quality. Previous work highlighted the importance of two tightly linked genes encoding a glycine-rich RNA-binding protein (HvGR-RBP1) and a NAC transcription factor (HvNAM1), controlling barley anthesis timing, senescence, and percent grain protein. Varieties that differ in HvGR-RBP1 expression, ‘Karl’(low) and ‘Lewis’(high), also differ in sequence 1 KB upstream of translation start site, including an ~ 400 bp G rich insertion in the 5′-flanking region of the ‘Karl’ allele, which could disrupt gene expression. To improve malt quality, the (low-grain protein, delayed-senescence) ‘Karl’ HvNAM1 allele was introgressed into Montana germplasm. After several seasons of selection, the resulting germplasm was screened for the allelic combinations of HvGR-RBP1 and HvNAM1, finding lines combining ‘Karl’ alleles for both genes (−/−), lines combining ‘Lewis’ (functional, expressed) HvGR-RBP1 with ‘Karl’ HvNAM1 alleles (±), and lines combining ‘Lewis’ alleles for both genes (+ / +). Field experiments indicate that the functional (‘Lewis,’ +) HvGR-RBP1 allele is associated with earlier anthesis and with slightly shorter plants, while the ‘Karl’ (−) HvNAM1 allele delays maturation. Genotypes carrying the ± allele combination therefore had a significantly (3 days) extended grain fill duration, leading to a higher percentage of plump kernels, slightly enhanced test weight, and lower grain protein concentration when compared to the other allele combinations. Overall, our data suggest an important function for HvGR-RBP1 in the control of barley reproductive development and set the stage for a more detailed functional analysis of this gene.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science