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Association Of TaD14-4D, A Gene Involved In Strigolactone Signaling, With Yield Contributing Traits In Wheat

Ruifang Liu, Jian Hou, Huifang Li, Ping Xu, Zhengbin Zhang, Xueyong Zhang

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Tillering is a crucial agronomic trait of wheat; it determines yield and plant architecture. Strigolactones (SLs) have been reported to inhibit plant branching. D14, a receptor of SLs, has been described to affect tillering in rice, yet it has seldomly been studied in wheat. In this study, three TaD14 homoeologous genes, TaD14-4A, TaD14-4B, and TaD14-4D, were identified. TaD14-4A, TaD14-4B, and TaD14-4D were constitutively expressed, and TaD14-4D had a higher expression level in most tissues. TaD14 proteins were localized in both cytoplasm and nucleus. An SNP and a 22 bp insertion/deletion (Indel) at the exon regions of TaD14-4D were detected, forming three haplotypes, namely 4D-HapI, 4D-HapII, and 4D-HapIII. Due to the frameshift mutation in the coding region of 4D-HapII, the interaction of 4D-HapII with TaMAX2 and TaD53 was blocked, which led to the blocking of SL signal transduction. Based on the two variation sites, two molecular markers, namely dCAPS-250 and Indel-747, were developed. Association analysis suggested that haplotypes of TaD14-4D were associated with effective tillering number (ETN) and thousand kernel weight (TKW) simultaneously in four environments. The favorable haplotype 4D-HapIII underwent positive selection in global wheat breeding. This study provides insights into understanding the function of natural variations of TaD14-4D and develops two useful molecular markers for wheat breeding.