Clusters of genes encoding fructan biosynthesizing enzymes in wheat and barley
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Fructans are soluble carbohydrates with health benefits and possible roles in plant adaptation. Fructan biosynthetic genes were isolated using comparative genomics and physical mapping followed by BAC sequencing in barley. Genes encoding sucrose:sucrose 1-fructosyltransferase (1-SST), fructan:fructan 1-fructosyltransferase (1-FFT) and sucrose:fructan 6-fructosyltransferase (6-SFT) were clustered together with multiple copies of vacuolar invertase genes and a transposable element on two barley BAC. Intron–exon structures of the genes were similar. Phylogenetic analysis of the fructosyltransferases and invertases in the Poaceae showed that the fructan biosynthetic genes may have evolved from vacuolar invertases. Quantitative real-time PCR was performed using leaf RNA extracted from three wheat cultivars grown under different conditions. The 1-SST, 1-FFT and 6-SFT genes had correlated expression patterns in our wheat experiment and in existing barley transcriptome database. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers were developed and successfully mapped to a major QTL region affecting wheat grain fructan accumulation in two independent wheat populations. The alleles controlling high- and low- fructan in parental lines were also found to be associated in fructan production in a diverse set of 128 wheat lines. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report on the mapping and sequencing of a fructan biosynthetic gene cluster and in particular, the isolation of a novel 1-FFT gene from barley.
KeywordsCereals Polysaccharides Physical map Quantitative trait locus Invertase
Research funding from International Science Linkages (CG120174), German Ministry of Education and Research (0314000A) and International Barley Sequencing Consortium is gratefully acknowledged. We thank Prof Robert Henry for providing grain samples from which an international collection of wheat accessions had been grown in a common environment, Dr Michael Francki for kindly providing gene primers and primer sequences, Dr Tim Sutton for organising BAC sequencing, Mr Jim Lewis, Ms Margaret Pallotta, Dr Genet Mekuria, Ms Elise Tucker, Ms Vivienne Le, Ms Marija Knez and Mr Lachlan Palmer for technical assistance, Prof Stanley Miklavcic, Prof Robin Graham, Dr Hugh Wallwork, Dr Bu-Jun Shi, Dr Ryan Whitford and Dr Nicholas Collins for advice. Constructive comments from two anonymous reviewers are also gratefully acknowledged.
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