Crop Biotech Update

Sheepgrass MADS-Box Genes Involved in Abiotic Stress Responses

March 21, 2018

MADS-box genes are involved in floral organ identity and flowering. Sheepgrass (Leymus chinensis) is an important perennial forage grass and adapts well to several adverse environments. However, only a few studies on the mechanism of flower development and the MADS-domain proteins are available. The team of Junting Jia and Pincang Zhao from the Chinese Academy of Sciences cloned 11 MADS-box genes from sheepgrass and studied their functions.

The analysis revealed that most of these MADS-box genes are highly expressed in floral organs. LcMADS1 and LcMADS3 showed higher expression in the stamen than in the other tissues, while LcMADS7 showed high expression in the stamen, glume, lemma and palea. Expressions of LcMADS2, LcMADS9, and LcMADS11 were higher in vegetative organs than floral organs. Further analysis showed that the expression of LcMADS1 and LcMADS2 were induced by cold, while LcMADS9 was significantly upregulated by salinity.

These results suggest that several MADS-box genes, especially LcMADS1, LcMADS3, and LcMADS7, play pivotal roles in sheepgrass sexual reproduction and may also be involved in abiotic stress responses. These findings could provide information for studies of MADS-box gene functions in rice, wheat, and other cereals.

For more information, read the article in BMC Plant Biology.