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Effect of water-deficit on tassel development in maize

Li, Wenzong, Hao, Zhuanfang, Pang, Junling, Zhang, Min, Wang, Nan, Li, Xinhai, Li, Weihua, Wang, Lei, Xu, Miaoyun
Gene 2019 v.681 pp. 86-92
biotic stress, corn, genes, pollen, pollination, transcription factors, transcriptomics, vegetative growth, water stress
Maize often exhibits asynchronous pollination under abiotic and biotic stress conditions; however, the molecular basis of this developmental deficiency has not been elucidated. Tassel development is a key process affecting the anthesis-silking interval (ASI) in maize. In this study, we showed that pollen shedding was delayed and ASI was significantly increased in B73 and Chang7-2 inbred lines under water deficit conditions, which resulted in longer barren tip length and decreased yields under both controlled and field conditions. Comparative transcriptome analysis performed on immature tassels derived from plants grown under well-watered and water deficit conditions identified 1931 and 1713 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in B73 and Chang7-2, respectively. Further, 28 differentially co-expressed transcription factors were identified across both lines. Collectively, we demonstrated that the molecular regulation of tassel development is associated with water deficit stress at early vegetative stage in maize. This finding extends our understanding of the molecular basis of maize tassel development during abiotic stress.