Microarray-assisted fine-mapping of quantitative trait loci for cold tolerance in rice

Fengxia Liu, Wenying Xu, Qian Song, Lubin Tan, Jiayong Liu, Zuofeng Zhu, Yongcai Fu, Zhen Su, Chuanqing Sun
Molecular Plant 2013, 6 (3): 757-67
Many important agronomic traits, including cold stress resistance, are complex and controlled by quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Isolation of these QTLs will greatly benefit the agricultural industry but it is a challenging task. This study explored an integrated strategy by combining microarray with QTL-mapping in order to identify cold-tolerant QTLs from a cold-tolerant variety IL112 at early-seedling stage. All the early seedlings of IL112 survived normally for 9 d at 4-5°C, while Guichao2 (GC2), an indica cultivar, died after 4 d under the same conditions. Using the F2:3 population derived from the progeny of GC2 and IL112, we identified seven QTLs for cold tolerance. Furthermore, we performed Affymetrix rice whole-genome array hybridization and obtained the expression profiles of IL112 and GC2 under both low-temperature and normal conditions. Four genes were selected as cold QTL-related candidates, based on microarray data mining and QTL-mapping. One candidate gene, LOC_Os07g22494, was shown to be highly associated with cold tolerance in a number of rice varieties and in the F2:3 population, and its overexpression transgenic rice plants displayed strong tolerance to low temperature at early-seedling stage. The results indicated that overexpression of this gene (LOC_Os07g22494) could increase cold tolerance in rice seedlings. Therefore, this study provides a promising strategy for identifying candidate genes in defined QTL regions.

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