Molecular effects of drought on bread wheat seed development

September 26, 2023

Preventing the decline in crop yield and flour quality caused by drought damage

The impact of the drought caused by climate change has been the main cause of the decline in crop yields in the bread wheat producing areas in recent years, raising concerns about the production and securing of food to feed the world’s growing population. In addition, stress during seed development period will negatively affect the seed quality in bread wheat, leading to a concern on decline of commodity values. A research team led by Yamaguchi University, RIKEN CSRS, Tottori University, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, and Utsunomiya University generated a drought‐tolerant wheat transgenic line TaPYLox overexpressing the abscisic acid (ABA) receptor, a key gene involved in drought resistance. By deliberately applying drought stress to transgenic drought-tolerant wheat (TaPYLox) and non-transgenic wheat lines (control) on the seed developing stage (one week after flowering), the team investigated the effects of the stress on the seeds on this stage though transcriptome analysis and metabolome analysis. As a result, they found that proline, a major constituent amino acid in seed storage proteins that determines the quality of flour, is abundant in seeds of TaPYLox even under dry stress. On the other hand, the proline did not increase in the control line as much as TaPYLox, and resulted seeds were smaller than those of TaPYLox. In addition, the contents of seed storage protein and starch were higher in TaPYLox even under drying stress, suggesting that it is important that components necessary for seed formation are accumulated at the same level as under non-stress conditions. The results of this study should help identify target traits in breeding for the development of bread wheat strains that can maintain quality even in drought, contributing to the development of strains that can tolerate extreme climate change.

Original article
Scientific Reports doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-42093-2
R. Mega, J.-S. Kim, H. Tanaka, T.i Ishii, F. Abe, M. Okamoto,
"Metabolomic and transcriptomic profiling during wheat seed development under progressive drought conditions".
Masanori Okamoto
Team Leader
Plant Chemical Genetics Research Team