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Crop Biotech Update

C4 Photosynthesis Gene Discovered in Foxtail Millet

August 1, 2018

Deoxycytidine monophosphate deaminase (DCD) is a key enzyme in the de novo deoxythymidine triphosphate (dTTP) synthesis. DCD is known to play key roles in cell cycle progression, and plant development. However, not much is known of the function of the DCD gene in Panicoideae plants. Setaria is an ideal model of Panicoideae grasses, especially for C4 photosynthesis research.

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences studied a foxtail millet (Setaria italica) stripe leaf mutant, sistl2. The sistl2 mutant exhibited semi-dwarfism, striped leaves, abnormal chloroplast structure, and delayed cell cycle progression compared with its wildtype parent Yugu1.

The researchers, which were led by Shuo Zhang and Sha Tang, identified the causal gene SiSTL2, which encodes a DCD protein. Further analysis indicated that SiSTL2 plays a role in the regulation of chloroplast biogenesis, cell cycle, and DNA replication, which suggested that the gene has similar functions in both foxtail millet and rice.

This study provides in-depth knowledge of the role of DCD in the C4 photosynthesis of model plant Setaria.

For more information, read the article in Frontiers in Plant Science.