During meiosis, homologous chromosomes synapse and recombine at sites marked by the binding of the mismatch repair protein MLH1. In hexaploid wheat, the Ph1 locus has a major effect on whether crossover occurs between homologues or between related homoeologues. Here we report that—in wheat–rye hybrids where homologues are absent—Ph1 affects neither the level of synapsis nor the number of MLH1. Thus in the case of wheat–wild relative hybrids, Ph1 must affect whether MLH1 sites are able to progress to crossover. The observed level of synapsis implies that Ph1 functions to promote homologue pairing rather than suppress homoeologue pairing in wheat. Therefore, Ph1 stabilises polyploidy in wheat by both promoting homologue pairing and preventing MLH1 sites from becoming crossovers on paired homoeologues during meiosis.
Allopolyploids must possess a mechanism for facilitating synapsis and crossover (CO) between homologues, in preference to homoeologues (related chromosomes), to ensure successful meiosis. In hexaploid wheat, the Ph1 locus has a major effect on the control of these processes. Studying a wheat mutant lacking Ph1 provides an opportunity to explore the underlying mechanisms. Recently, it was proposed that Ph1 stabilises wheat during meiosis, both by promoting homologue synapsis during early meiosis and preventing MLH1 sites on synapsed homoeologues from becoming COs later in meiosis. Here, we explore these two effects and demonstrate firstly that whether or not Ph1 is present, synapsis between homoeologues does not take place during the telomere bouquet stage, with only homologous synapsis taking place during this stage. Furthermore, in wheat lacking Ph1, overall synapsis is delayed with respect to the telomere bouquet, with more synapsis occurring after the bouquet stage, when homoeologous synapsis is also possible. Secondly, we show that in the absence of Ph1, we can increase the number of MLH1 sites progressing to COs by altering environmental growing conditions; we show that higher nutrient levels in the soil or lower temperatures increase the level of both homologue and homoeologue COs. These observations suggest opportunities to improve the exploitation of the Ph1 wheat mutant in breeding programmes.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00412-017-0630-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Wild relatives provide an important source of useful traits in wheat breeding. Wheat and wild relative hybrids have been widely used in breeding programs to introduce such traits into wheat. However, successful introgression is limited by the low frequency of homoeologous crossover (CO) between wheat and wild relative chromosomes. Hybrids between wheat carrying a 70 Mb deletion on chromosome 5B (ph1b) and wild relatives, have been exploited to increase the level of homoeologous CO, allowing chromosome exchange between their chromosomes. In ph1b-rye hybrids, CO number increases from a mean of 1 CO to 7 COs per cell. CO number can be further increased up to a mean of 12 COs per cell in these ph1b hybrids by treating the plants with Hoagland solution. More recently, it was shown that the major meiotic crossover gene ZIP4 on chromosome 5B (TaZIP4-B2) within the 70 Mb deletion, was responsible for the restriction of homoeologous COs in wheat-wild relative hybrids, confirming the ph1b phenotype as a complete Tazip4-B2 deletion mutant (Tazip4-B2 ph1b). In this study, we have identified the particular Hoagland solution constituent responsible for the increased chiasma frequency in Tazip4-B2 ph1b mutant-rye hybrids and extended the analysis to Tazip4-B2 TILLING and CRISPR mutant-Ae variabilis hybrids. Chiasma frequency at meiotic metaphase I, in the absence of each Hoagland solution macronutrient (NH4 H2PO4, KNO3, Ca (NO3)2·4H2O or Mg SO4·7H2O) was analyzed. A significant decrease in homoeologous CO frequency was observed when the Mg2+ ion was absent. A significant increase of homoeologous CO frequency was observed in all analyzed hybrids, when plants were irrigated with a 1 mM Mg2+ solution. These observations suggest a role for magnesium supplementation in improving the success of genetic material introgression from wild relatives into wheat.
Despite possessing related ancestral genomes, hexaploid wheat behaves as a diploid during meiosis. The wheat Ph1 locus promotes accurate synapsis and crossover of homologous chromosomes. Interspecific hybrids between wheat and wild relatives are exploited by breeders to introgress important traits from wild relatives into wheat, although in hybrids between hexaploid wheat and wild relatives, which possess only homoeologues, crossovers do not take place during meiosis at metaphase I. However, in hybrids between Ph1 deletion mutants and wild relatives, crossovers do take place. A single Ph1 deletion (ph1b) mutant has been exploited for the last 40 years for this activity. We show here that chemically induced mutant lines, selected for a mutation in TaZIP4-B2 within the Ph1 locus, exhibit high levels of homoeologous crossovers when crossed with wild relatives. Tazip4-B2 mutant lines may be more stable over multiple generations, as multivalents causing accumulation of chromosome translocations are less frequent. Exploitation of such Tazip4-B2 mutants, rather than mutants with whole Ph1 locus deletions, may therefore improve introgression of wild relative chromosome segments into wheat.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11032-017-0700-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Despite possessing multiple sets of related (homoeologous) chromosomes, hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum) restricts pairing to just true homologs at meiosis. Deletion of a single major locus, Pairing homoeologous1 (Ph1), allows pairing of homoeologs. How can the same chromosomes be processed as homologs instead of being treated as nonhomologs? Ph1 was recently defined to a cluster of defective cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk)-like genes showing some similarity to mammalian Cdk2. We reasoned that the cluster might suppress Cdk2-type activity and therefore affect replication and histone H1 phosphorylation. Our study does indeed reveal such effects, suggesting that Cdk2-type phosphorylation has a major role in determining chromosome specificity during meiosis.
Non-random gene organization in eukaryotes plays a significant role in genome evolution. Here, we investigate the origin of a biosynthetic gene cluster for production of defence compounds in oat—the avenacin cluster. We elucidate the structure and organisation of this 12-gene cluster, characterise the last two missing pathway steps, and reconstitute the entire pathway in tobacco by transient expression. We show that the cluster has formed de novo since the divergence of oats in a subtelomeric region of the genome that lacks homology with other grasses, and that gene order is approximately colinear with the biosynthetic pathway. We speculate that the positioning of the late pathway genes furthest away from the telomere may mitigate against a ‘self-poisoning’ scenario in which toxic intermediates accumulate as a result of telomeric gene deletions. Our investigations reveal a striking example of adaptive evolution underpinned by remarkable genome plasticity.
Polyploidization is a fundamental process in plant evolution. One of the biggest challenges faced by a new polyploid is meiosis, particularly discriminating between multiple related chromosomes so that only homologous chromosomes synapse and recombine to ensure regular chromosome segregation and balanced gametes. Despite its large genome size, high DNA repetitive content and similarity between homoeologous chromosomes, hexaploid wheat completes meiosis in a shorter period than diploid species with a much smaller genome. Therefore, during wheat meiosis, mechanisms additional to the classical model based on DNA sequence homology, must facilitate more efficient homologous recognition. One such mechanism could involve exploitation of differences in chromosome structure between homologs and homoeologs at the onset of meiosis. In turn, these chromatin changes, can be expected to be linked to transcriptional gene activity. In this study, we present an extensive analysis of a large RNA-seq data derived from six different genotypes: wheat, wheat–rye hybrids and newly synthesized octoploid triticale, both in the presence and absence of the Ph1 locus. Plant material was collected at early prophase, at the transition leptotene-zygotene, when the telomere bouquet is forming and synapsis between homologs is beginning. The six genotypes exhibit different levels of synapsis and chromatin structure at this stage; therefore, recombination and consequently segregation, are also different. Unexpectedly, our study reveals that neither synapsis, whole genome duplication nor the absence of the Ph1 locus are associated with major changes in gene expression levels during early meiotic prophase. Overall wheat transcription at this meiotic stage is therefore highly resilient to such alterations, even in the presence of major chromatin structural changes. Further studies in wheat and other polyploid species will be required to reveal whether these observations are specific to wheat meiosis.
(BBSRC), through three grants (Grant BB/J004588/1; Grant BB/M009599/1; Grant 2 5 . CC-BY-NC 4.0 International license It is made available under a (which was not peer-reviewed) is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity.The copyright holder for this preprint . http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/142596 doi: bioRxiv preprint first posted online May. 26, 7 8Key message 9Exploiting the ZIP4 homologue within the wheat Ph1 locus has identified two wheat 3 0 mutants through a non-GM route, which can be exploited as an alternative to the 3 1Chinese Spring ph1b mutant in wheat introgression strategies.
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