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qKW9 encodes a pentatricopeptide repeat protein affecting photosynthesis and grain filling in maize

By Juan Huang, Gang Lu, Lei Liu, Mohammad Sharif Raihan, Jieting Xu, Liumei Jian, Lingxiao Zhao, Thu M Tran, Qinghua Zhang, Jie Liu, Wenqiang Li, Cunxu Wei, David M Braun, Qing Li, Alisdair R. Fernie, David Jackson, Jianbing Yan

Posted 20 Nov 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/847145

Kernel weight is an important yield component in maize that was selected during domestication. Many kernel weight genes have been identified through mutant analysis, and are mostly involved in the biogenesis and functional maintenance of organelles or other fundamental cellular activities. However, only a limited number of loci underlying quantitative variation in kernel weight have been cloned. Here we characterize a maize kernel weight QTL, qKW9 and find that it encodes a DYW motif pentatricopeptide repeat protein involved in C-to-U editing of NdhB, a subunit of the chloroplast NADH dehydrogenase-like complex. In a null qKW9 background, C-to-U editing of NdhB was abolished, and photosynthesis was reduced, suggesting that qKW9 regulates kernel weight by controling the maternal source of photosynthate for grain filling. Characterization of qKW9 highlights the importance of optimizing photosynthesis on maize grain yield production.

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