Journal Article Hybrid incompatibilities in interspecific crosses between tetraploid wheat and its wild diploid relative Aegilops umbellulata

Okada, Moeko  ,  Yoshida, Kentaro  ,  Takumi, Shigeo

95 ( 6 )  , pp.625 - 645 , 2017-12 , Springer Science+Business Media
Hybrid abnormalities, severe growth abortion and grass-clump dwarfism, were found in the tetraploid wheat/Aegilops umbellulata hybrids, and the gene expression changes were conserved in the hybrids with those in other wheat synthetic hexaploids. Aegilops umbellulata Zhuk., a diploid goatgrass species with a UU genome, has been utilized as a genetic resource for wheat breeding. Here, we examine the reproductive barriers between tetraploid wheat cultivar Langdon (Ldn) and various Ae. umbellulata accessions by conducting interspecific crossings. Through systematic cross experiments, three types of hybrid incompatibilities were found: seed production failure in crosses, hybrid growth abnormalities and sterility in the ABU hybrids. Hybrid incompatibilities were widely distributed over the entire range of the natural species, and in about 50% of the cross combinations between tetraploid Ldn and Ae. umbellulata accessions, ABU F1 hybrids showed one of two abnormal growth phenotypes: severe growth abortion (SGA) or grass-clump dwarfism. Expression of the shoot meristem maintenance-related and cell cycle-related genes was markedly repressed in crown tissues of hybrids showing SGA, suggesting dysfunction of mitotic cell division in the shoot apices. The grass-clump dwarf phenotype may be explained by down-regulation of wheat APETALA1-like MADS box genes, which act as flowering promoters, and altered expression in crown tissues of the miR156/SPLs module, which controls tiller number and branching. These gene expression changes in growth abnormalities were well conserved between the Ldn/Ae. umbellulata plants and interspecific hybrids from crosses of Ldn and wheat D-genome progenitor Ae. tauschii.

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