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Crop Biotech Update

TaPSTOL Controls Agronomically Important Traits in Wheat

June 13, 2018

Phosphorus (P) is an essential macronutrient for plant growth, and is required in large quantities by elite varieties of crops to maintain yields. Understanding how plants can maintain their yield with lower P inputs is highly desirable. The team of Matthew J. Milner from The John Bingham Laboratory in the UK studied the wheat (Triticum aestivum) TaPSTOL gene to learn its role in phosphate nutrition and in other agronomically important traits.

TaPSTOL is a single copy gene, which encodes a putative kinase protein, and shares a high level of similarity to its rice homolog, OsPSTOL. The team characterized the expression of TaPSTOL under different P concentrations and found that its promoter was induced in root tips and hairs under P limiting conditions. Overexpression of TaPSTOL in transgenic wheat lines resulted in positive significant effects on root biomass, tiller number, and seed yield, correlating with the expression of TaPSTOL while RNAi silencing resulted in negative effects.

Manipulation of TaPSTOL in wheat shows that it is responsible for many of phenotypic advantages as OsPSTOL except for yield. Furthermore, this study shows that TaPSTOL contributes to agronomically important traits, including flowering time and grain size.

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