Genome-Wide Identification and Characterization of wALOG Family Genes Involved in Branch Meristem Development of Branching Head Wheat

Wenzhi Nan, Shandang Shi, Diddugodage Chamila Jeewani, Li Quan, Xue Shi, Zhonghua Wang
Genes 2018 October 19, 9 (10)
The branched spike phenotype is an important supernumerary spikelet trait of Triticum turgidum L. associated with the production of significantly more grains per spike, thereby offering a higher potential yield. However, the genetic basis of branch meristem (BM) development remains to be fully elucidated in wheat. TAW1, an ALOG (Arabidopsis LSH1 and Oryza G1) family gene, has been shown to function as a unique regulator in promoting BM development in rice. In this study, we found that the development pattern of the BMs of the branched spike in wheat was similar to the indeterminate BMs of rice. Moreover, phylogenetic analysis classified the ALOG genes into 12 groups. This family of genes was found to have evolved independently in eudicots and monocots and was evolutionarily conserved between wheat and rice as well as during wheat polyploidization. Furthermore, experiments revealed that TtALOG2-1A, a TAW1-homologous gene, plays a significant role in regulating the transition of indeterminate BM fate. Finally, large-scale RNA-sequencing studies and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) experiments revealed that members of the TtALOGs may act upstream of the TtMADS22, TtMADS47, and TtMADS55 genes to promote indeterminate BM activities. Our findings further knowledge on BM development in wheat.

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