, Volume 121, Issue 4, pp 629-641
Date: 18 Apr 2010

Identification of quantitative trait loci for ABA responsiveness at the seedling stage associated with ABA-regulated gene expression in common wheat

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Responsiveness to abscisic acid (ABA) during vegetative growth plays an important role in regulating adaptive responses to various environmental conditions, including activation of a number of ABA-responsive genes. However, the relationship between gene expression and responsiveness to ABA at the seedling stage has not been well studied in wheat. In the present study, quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis for ABA responsiveness at the seedling stage was performed using recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between common wheat cultivars showing different ABA responsiveness. Five QTLs were found to be significant, located on chromosomes 1B, 2A, 3A, 6D and 7B. The QTL with the greatest effect was located on chromosome 6D and explained 11.12% of the variance in ABA responsiveness. The other QTLs each accounted for approximately 5–8% of the phenotypic variation. Expression analyses of three ABA-responsive Cor/Lea genes, Wdhn13, Wrab15 and Wrab17, showed that allelic differences in QTLs on chromosomes 2A, 6D and 7B influenced expression of these genes in seedlings treated with ABA. The 3A QTL appeared to be involved in the regulatory system of Wdhn13 and Wrab15, but not Wrab17. The effects of the 2A and 6D QTLs on gene expression were relatively large. The combination of alleles at the QTLs resulted in an additive or synergistic effect on Cor/Lea expression. These results indicate that the QTLs influencing ABA responsiveness are associated with ABA-regulated gene expression and suggest that the QTL on chromosome 6D with the largest effect acts as a key regulator of ABA responses including seedling growth arrest and gene expression during the vegetative stage.

Communicated by J. Snape.