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Genetic determinants controlling maize rubisco activase gene expression and a comparison with rice counterparts.
Saturday, 2019/08/24 | 06:57:56

Zhang YZhou YSun QDeng DLiu HChen SYin Z.


BMC Plant Biol. 2019 Aug 14;19(1):351. doi: 10.1186/s12870-019-1965-x.







Rubisco activase (RCA) regulates the activity of Rubisco and is a key enzyme of photosynthesis. RCA expression was widely reported to affect plant photosynthesis and crop yield, but the molecular basis of natural variation in RCA expression in a wide range of maize materials has not been fully elucidated.





In this study, correlation analysis in approximately 200 maize inbred lines revealed a significantly positive correlation between the expression of maize RCA gene ZmRCAβ and grain yield. A genome-wide association study revealed both cis-expression quantitative trait loci (cis-eQTLs) and trans-eQTLs underlying the expression of ZmRCAβ, with the latter playing a more important role. Further allele mining and genetic transformation analysis showed that a 2-bp insertion and a 14-bp insertion in the promoter of ZmRCAβ conferred increased gene expression. Because rice is reported to have higher RCA gene expression than does maize, we subsequently compared the genetic factors underlying RCA gene expression between maize and rice. The promoter activity of the rice RCA gene was shown to be stronger than that of the maize RCA gene, suggesting that replacing the maize RCA gene promoter with that of the rice RCA gene would improve the expression of RCA in maize.





Our results revealed two DNA polymorphisms regulating maize RCA gene ZmRCAβ expression, and the RCA gene promoter activity of rice was stronger than that of maize. This work increased understanding of the genetic mechanism that underlies RCA gene expression and identify new targets for both genetic engineering and selection for maize yield improvement.


See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6692957/



Figure 3:  GWAS for the expression of ZmRCAβac Quantile-quantile plot for the GWAS under a mixed linear model (MLM). bd Manhattan plot for the GWAS. Note: The red line indicates a significant association signal (−logP>5.75)

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