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The wheat AGL6-like MADS-box gene is a master regulator for floral organ identity and a target for spikelet meristem development manipulation

  Jia,Guoliang Sun,Zhenyu Wang,Ke Wang,Xingguo Ye,Jian Ma,Dengcai Liu,Yuming Wei,Youliang Zheng,Xiangdong Fu,Long Mao,Xiujin Lan,Aili Li

  Plant Biotechnology Journal, IF: 9.803


  The AGAMOUS-LIKE6 (AGL6)-like genes are ancient MADS-box genes and are functionally studied in a few model plants. The knowledge of these genes in wheat remains limited. Here, by studying a ‘double homoeolog mutant’ of the AGL6 gene in tetraploid wheat, we showed that AGL6 was required for the development of all four whorls of floral organs with dosage-dependent effect on floret fertility. Yeast two-hybrid analyses detected interactions of AGL6 with all classes of MADS-box proteins in the ABCDE model for floral organ development. AGL6 was found to interact with several additional proteins, including the G protein β and γ (DEP1) subunits. Analysis of the DEP1-B mutant showed a significant reduction in spikelet number per spike in tetraploid wheat, while overexpression of AGL6 in common wheat increased the spikelet number per spike and hence the grain number per spike. RNA-seq analysis identified the regulation of several meristem activity genes by AGL6, such as FUL2 and TaMADS55. Our work therefore extensively updated the wheat ABCDE model and proposed an alternative approach to improve wheat grain yield by manipulating the AGL6 gene.