Role of heterotrimeric Galpha proteins in maize development and enhancement of agronomic traits

Wu, Q., Regan, M., Furukawa, H., Jackson, D. (April 2018) Role of heterotrimeric Galpha proteins in maize development and enhancement of agronomic traits. PLoS Genet, 14 (4). e1007374. ISSN 1553-7390

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007374


Plant shoot systems derive from the shoot apical meristems (SAMs), pools of stems cells that are regulated by a feedback between the WUSCHEL (WUS) homeobox protein and CLAVATA (CLV) peptides and receptors. The maize heterotrimeric G protein alpha subunit COMPACT PLANT2 (CT2) functions with CLV receptors to regulate meristem development. In addition to the sole canonical Galpha CT2, maize also contains three eXtra Large GTP-binding proteins (XLGs), which have a domain with homology to Galpha as well as additional domains. By either forcing CT2 to be constitutively active, or by depleting XLGs using CRISPR-Cas9, here we show that both CT2 and XLGs play important roles in maize meristem regulation, and their manipulation improved agronomic traits. For example, we show that expression of a constitutively active CT2 resulted in higher spikelet density and kernel row number, larger ear inflorescence meristems (IMs) and more upright leaves, all beneficial traits selected during maize improvement. Our findings suggest that both the canonical Galpha, CT2 and the non-canonical XLGs play important roles in maize meristem regulation and further demonstrate that weak alleles of plant stem cell regulatory genes have the capacity to improve agronomic traits.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: organism description > plant > maize
organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > tissues types and functions > apical meristem
bioinformatics > genomics and proteomics > genetics & nucleic acid processing > protein structure, function, modification > protein types > G protein
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Furukawa lab
CSHL labs > Jackson lab
Depositing User: Matt Covey
Date: 30 April 2018
Date Deposited: 22 May 2018 20:14
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2023 18:22
PMCID: PMC5945058
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