Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Corn, Soybean and Wheat Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #408853

Research Project: Enhancement of Eastern U.S. Wheat Quality, Genetics and Marketability

Location: Corn, Soybean and Wheat Quality Research

Title: The cell wall related gene families of wheat (Triticum aestivum)

item Penning, Bryan

Submitted to: Diversity
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/6/2023
Publication Date: 11/7/2023
Citation: Penning, B. 2023. The cell wall related gene families of wheat (Triticum aestivum). Diversity. 15. Article #1135.

Interpretive Summary: Wheat is a crop providing 20% of calories consumed by humans world-wide. Increased wheat production is needed to continue feeding the world as the population expands. Yet, acreage of soft winter wheat is decreasing due to increased incidences of crop losses and lower value of wheat produced per acre compared to other crops. Cell wall-related genes are an important group of genes responsible for plant growth, are part of the resistance to pests, pathogens, and adverse weather, provide mechanical strength, and allow adaptability to changing growing conditions. Wheat cell wall genes are proven to be involved in pre-harvest sprouting resistance from our previous works. However, the current annotations of wheat cell wall genes are not sufficient to associate them with functions. The result of this research is a curated set of 4086 wheat genes assigned to 81 different cell wall-related gene families. These genes were also displayed visually with their closest related genes in corn, rice, and the model plant Arabidopsis where much more research on gene function has been performed. An example based on genes uncovered in pre-harvest sprouting research is given that shows how this research can be used to improve details from a basic bioinformatics search to make it more meaningful to other scientists, in this case for pre-harvest sprouting resistance. This will aid assignment of function for these 4086 wheat cell wall genes. Impact is scientists’ understanding of how these genes function to improve agronomic traits and the ability of plants to resist lodging, pests, pathogens, and other stresses related to weather such as pre-harvest spouting. Thus, improving crop quality such as suitability for human consumption, less docking or crop loss benefiting farmers.

Technical Abstract: Wheat crops provide 20% of calories worldwide. As abiotic stresses such as pre-harvest sprouting increase with climate change, wheat resilience must keep pace to continue feeding the world. Cell wall genes function in plant growth, are part of biotic and abiotic stress resistance, and provide plant mechanical strength and adaptability. These functions factor into the productivity of wheat. Previously, curated cell wall gene families have been published for maize and rice, two other important crop grasses. Here 81 cell wall-related wheat gene families curated by sequence similarity to maize and rice and unique family protein motif searches are presented. A total of 4086 wheat, 1118 maize, 1036 rice, and 955 Arabidopsis genes were aligned and placed into gene family trees to present homologs for all four species. Due to hexaploidy, many wheat cell wall gene families show expected triplication of genes per family over maize, rice, and Arabidopsis. However, several families contained more wheat genes than expected. Utility of this research is demonstrated with an example from a pre-harvest sprouting study to identify specific gene families rather than vague descriptions available with standard bioinformatic searches.