Variation in phosphorus and sulfur content shapes the genetic architecture and phenotypic associations within the wheat grain ionome
. The Plant JournalThe Plant JournalPlant J 2020
, 555 - 572. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Summary Dissection of the genetic basis of wheat ionome is crucial for understanding the physiological and biochemical processes underlying mineral accumulation in seeds, as well as for efficient crop breeding. Most of the elements essential for plants are metals stored in seeds as chelate complexes with phytic acid or sulfur-containing compounds. We assume that the involvement of phosphorus and sulfur in metal chelation is the reason for strong phenotypic correlations within ionome. Adjustment of element concentrations for the effect of variation in phosphorus and sulfur seed content resulted in drastic change of phenotypic correlations between the elements. The genetic architecture of wheat grain ionome was characterized by quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis using a cross between durum and wild emmer wheat. QTL analysis of the adjusted traits and two-trait analysis of the initial traits paired with either P or S considerably improved QTL detection power and accuracy, resulting in the identification of 105 QTLs and 617 QTL effects for 11 elements. Candidate gene search revealed some potential functional associations between QTLs and corresponding genes within their intervals. Thus, we have shown that accounting for variation in P and S is crucial for understanding of the physiological and genetic regulation of mineral composition of wheat grain ionome and can be implemented for other plants.
Variation Between Three Eragrostis tef Accessions in Defense Responses to Rhopalosiphum padi Aphid Infestation
, 1892. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Tef (Eragrostis tef), a staple crop that originated in the Horn of Africa, has been introduced to multiple countries over the last several decades. Crop cultivation in new geographic regions raises questions regarding the molecular basis for biotic stress responses. In this study, we aimed to classify the insect abundance on tef crop in Israel, and to elucidate its chemical and physical defense mechanisms in response to insect feeding. To discover the main pests of tef in the Mediterranean climate, we conducted an insect field survey on three selected accessions named RTC-144, RTC-405, and RTC-406, and discovered that the most abundant insect order is Hemiptera. We compared the differences in Rhopalosiphum padi (Hemiptera; Aphididae) aphid performance, preference, and feeding behavior between the three accessions. While the number of aphid progeny was lower on RTC-406 than on the other two, the aphid olfactory assay indicated that the aphids tended to be repelled from the RTC-144 accession. To highlight the variation in defense responses, we investigated the physical and chemical mechanisms. As a physical barrier, the density of non-granular trichomes was evaluated, in which a higher number of trichomes on the RTC-406 than on the other accessions was observed. This was negatively correlated with aphid performance. To determine chemical responses, the volatile and central metabolite profiles were measured upon aphid attack for 4 days. The volatile analysis exposed a rich and dynamic metabolic profile, and the central metabolism profile indicated that tef plants adjust their sugars and organic and amino acid levels. Overall, we found that the tef plants possess similar defense responses as other Poaceae family species, while the non-volatile deterrent compounds are yet to be characterized. A transcriptomic time-series analysis of a selected accession RTC-144 infested with aphids revealed a massive alteration of genes related to specialized metabolism that potentially synthesize non-volatile toxic compounds. This is the first report to reveal the variation in the defense mechanisms of tef plants. These findings can facilitate the discovery of insect-resistance genes leading to enhanced yield in tef and other cereal crops.
Environmental and genetic determinants of amphicarpy in Pisum fulvum, a wild relative of domesticated pea
. Plant Science 2020
, 110566. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Pisum fulvum is an annual legume native to Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. In certain locations, P. fulvum individuals were documented to display a reproductive dimorphism – amphicarpy, with both above and below ground flowers and pods. Herein we aimed to study the possible role of soil texture on amphicarpy in P. fulvum, to investigate the possible bio-climatic associations of P. fulvum amphicarpy and to identify genetic markers associated with this phenotype. A set of 127 germplasm accessions sampled across the Israeli distribution range of the species was phenotyped in two common garden nurseries. Land use and bioclimatic data were used to delineate the eco-geographic clustering of accession's sampling sites. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers were employed in genome-wide association study to identify associated loci. Amphicarpy was subject to strong experimental site x genotype interaction with higher phenotypic expression in fine textured soil relative to sandy loam. Amphicarpy was more prevalent among accessions sampled in eastern Judea and Samaria and was weakly associated with early phenology and relatively modest above ground biomass production. Twelve SNP markers were significantly associated with amphicarpy, each explaining between 8 and 12 % of the phenotypic variation. In P. fulvum amphicarpy seems to be a polygenetic trait controlled by an array of genes that is likely to be affected by environmental stimuli. The probable selective advantage of the association between amphicarpy and early flowering is in line with its relative prevalence in drought prone territories subject to heavy grazing.
Nitrogen availability and genotype affect major nutritional quality parameters of tef grain grown under irrigation
. Scientific Reports 2020
, 14339. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Worldwide demand for tef (Eragrostis tef) as a functional food for human consumption is increasing, thanks to its nutritional benefits and gluten-free properties. As a result, tef in now grown outside its native environment in Ethiopia and thus information is required regarding plant nutrition demands in these areas, as well as resulting grain health-related composition. In the current work, two tef genotypes were grown in Israel under irrigation in two platforms, plots in the field and pots in a greenhouse, with four and five nitrogen treatments, respectively. Nutritional and health-related quality traits were analyzed, including mineral content, fatty acid composition, hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidative capacity, total phenolic content and basic polyphenolic profile. Our results show that tef genotypes differ in their nutritional composition, e.g. higher phenolic contents in the brown compared to the white genotype. Additionally, nitrogen availability positively affected grain fatty acid composition and iron levels in both experiments, while negatively affecting total phenolics in the field trials. To conclude, nitrogen fertilization is crucial for crop growth and productivity, however it also implicates nutritional value of the grains as food. These effects should be considered when fertilizing tef with nitrogen, to optimize both crop productivity and nutritional effects.