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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #359440

Research Project: Nutritional Metabolism in Mothers, Infants, and Children

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Redox-engineering enhances maize thermotolerance and grain yield in the field

item SPRAGUE, STUART - Kansas State University
item TAMANG, TEJ MAN - Kansas State University
item STEINER, TREVOR - Kansas State University
item WU, QINGYU - Kansas State University
item HU, YING - Kansas State University
item KAKESHPOUR, TAYEBEH - Kansas State University
item PARK, JUNGEUN - Kansas State University
item YANG, JIAN - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item PENG, ZHAO - University Of Florida
item BERGKAMP, BLAKE - Kansas State University
item SOMAYANDA, IMPA - Kansas State University
item PETERSON, MORGAN - Kansas State University
item GARCIA, ELY OLIVEIRA - Kansas State University
item HAO, YANGFAN - Kansas State University
item AMAND, PAUL ST. - Kansas State University
item BAI, GUIHUA - Kansas State University
item Nakata, Paul
item RIEU, IVO - Radboud University
item JACKSON, DAVID - Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
item CHENG, NINGHUI - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item VALENT, BARBARA - Kansas State University
item HIRSCHI, KENDAL - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item JAGADISH, SV KRISHNA - Kansas State University
item LIU, SANZHEN - Kansas State University
item WHITE, FRANK - University Of Florida
item PARK, SUNGHU - Kansas State University

Submitted to: Plant Biotechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/27/2022
Publication Date: 6/2/2022
Citation: Sprague, S.A., Tamang, T., Steiner, T., Wu, Q., Hu, Y., Kakeshpour, T., Park, J., Yang, J., Peng, Z., Bergkamp, B., Somayanda, I., Peterson, M., Garcia, E., Hao, Y., Amand, P., Bai, G., Nakata, P.A., Rieu, I., Jackson, D.P., Cheng, N., Valent, B., Hirschi, K.D., Jagadish, S., Liu, S., White, F.F., Park, S. 2022. Redox-engineering enhances maize thermotolerance and grain yield in the field. Plant Biotechnology.

Interpretive Summary: Climate change and food security are preeminent global concerns. Given the inverse relationship between rising temperatures and crop yield, research must be done to address this problem of increasing food productivity in warming global conditions. Maize is the highest yielding crop in the world and, despite a subtropical ancestral origin, maize flowers are hypersensitive to high temperature. In this manuscript we report the generation of an engineered corn line that displays increased kernel set, resulting in a 6-fold increase in yield when challenged with heat stress under both laboratory and field grown conditions. To our knowledge these corn lines are the most thermotolerant generated to date.

Technical Abstract: Increasing populations and temperatures are expected to escalate food demands beyond production capacities, and the development of maize lines with better performance under heat stress is desirable. Here, we report that constitutive ectopic expression of a heterologous glutaredoxin S17 from Arabidopsis thaliana (AtGRXS17) can provide thermotolerance in maize through enhanced chaperone activity and modulation of heat stress-associated gene expression. The thermotolerant maize lines had increased protection against protein damage and yielded a 6-fold increase in grain production in comparison to the non-transgenic counterparts under heat stress field conditions. The maize lines also displayed thermotolerance in the reproductive stages, resulting in improved pollen germination and the higher fidelity of fertilized ovules under heat stress conditions. Our results present a robust and simple strategy for meeting rising yield demands in maize and, possibly, other crop species in a warming global environment.