Image_1_Mapping and Functional Analysis of a Maize Silkless Mutant sk-A7110.JPEG (208.18 kB)

Image_1_Mapping and Functional Analysis of a Maize Silkless Mutant sk-A7110.JPEG

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posted on 2018-08-21, 13:29 authored by Yan Zhao, Yongzhong Zhang, Lijing Wang, Xueran Wang, Wei Xu, Xianyu Gao, Baoshen Liu

The maize (Zea mays) stigma, which is commonly known as silk, is indispensable for reproduction and thus for grain yield. Here, we isolated a spontaneous mutant sk-A7110, which completely lacks silk; scanning electron microscopy showed that the sk-A7110 pistils degenerated during late floret differentiation. Genetic analysis confirmed that this trait was controlled by a recessive nuclear gene and sk-A7110 was mapped to a 74.13-kb region on chromosome 2 between the simple sequence repeat markers LA714 and L277. Sequence analysis of candidate genes in this interval identified a single-nucleotide insertion at position 569 downstream of the transcriptional start site in Zm00001d002970, which encodes a UDP-glycosyltransferase; this insertion produces a frameshift and premature translational termination. RNA-sequencing analysis of young ears identified 258 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between sk-A7110 and the wild type (WT), including 119 up- and 139 down-regulated genes. Interestingly, most DEGs related to jasmonic acid (JA) synthesis were up-regulated in the mutant compared to WT. Consistent with this, the JA and JA-Isoleucine (JA-Ile) contents were significantly higher in sk-A7110 ears than in WT. At the same time, RNA-sequencing analysis of tassels showed that sk-A7110 could reduce the number of tassel branches in maize by down-regulating the expression of UB2 and UB3 genes. Our identification of the sk-A7110 mutant and the responsible gene will facilitate further studies on female infertility research or maize breeding.