Original Paper

Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 115, Issue 5, pp 721-733

First online:

A Pseudo-Response Regulator is misexpressed in the photoperiod insensitive Ppd-D1a mutant of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)

  • James BealesAffiliated withCrop Genetics Department, John Innes Centre
  • , Adrian TurnerAffiliated withCrop Genetics Department, John Innes Centre
  • , Simon GriffithsAffiliated withCrop Genetics Department, John Innes Centre
  • , John W. SnapeAffiliated withCrop Genetics Department, John Innes Centre
  • , David A. LaurieAffiliated withCrop Genetics Department, John Innes Centre Email author 

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Ppd-D1 on chromosome 2D is the major photoperiod response locus in hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum). A semi-dominant mutation widely used in the “green revolution” converts wheat from a long day (LD) to a photoperiod insensitive (day neutral) plant, providing adaptation to a broad range of environments. Comparative mapping shows Ppd-D1 to be colinear with the Ppd-H1 gene of barley (Hordeum vulgare) which is a member of the pseudo-response regulator (PRR) gene family. To investigate the relationship between wheat and barley photoperiod genes we isolated homologues of Ppd-H1 from a ‘Chinese Spring’ wheat BAC library and compared them to sequences from other wheat varieties with known Ppd alleles. Varieties with the photoperiod insensitive Ppd-D1a allele which causes early flowering in short (SD) or LDs had a 2 kb deletion upstream of the coding region. This was associated with misexpression of the 2D PRR gene and expression of the key floral regulator FT in SDs, showing that photoperiod insensitivity is due to activation of a known photoperiod pathway irrespective of day length. Five Ppd-D1 alleles were found but only the 2 kb deletion was associated with photoperiod insensitivity. Photoperiod insensitivity can also be conferred by mutation at a homoeologous locus on chromosome 2B (Ppd-B1). No candidate mutation was found in the 2B PRR gene but polymorphism within the 2B PRR gene cosegregated with the Ppd-B1 locus in a doubled haploid population, suggesting that insensitivity on 2B is due to a mutation outside the sequenced region or to a closely linked gene.