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Comparative gene expression analysis of the β-amylase and hordein gene families in the developing barley grain

Vinje, Marcus A., Walling, Jason G., Henson, Cynthia A., Duke, Stanley H.
Gene 2019 v.693 pp. 127-136
barley, beta-amylase, enzyme activity, flowering, gene dosage, gene expression, genes, hordein, malt, malting, malting quality, messenger RNA, protein content, seed development
Expression of hordeins and β-amylase during barley grain development is important in determining malting quality parameters that are controlled by protein and malt enzyme levels. The relationship between protein and enzyme levels is confounding because, in general, protein and malt enzyme activity are positively correlated and the malting and brewing industries demand relatively low levels of protein and relatively high levels of enzymes. Separation of these traits is desirable because high protein levels are one of the primary causes of barley not meeting malt quality standards. Studies on barley grain development have not resulted in a consensus on the temporal accumulation of hordein and endosperm-specific β-amylase (Bmy1) and thus, it is unclear whether hordeins and Bmy1 are under control of the same temporal regulator (s). Therefore, temporal expression patterns of hordeins (B- [Hor2], C– [Hor1], D- [Hor3], and γ-hordein [Hor5]) were compared to Bmy1 throughout grain development (5 to 35 days after anthesis (DAA)). Transcript accumulation between hordeins and Bmy1 occurred simultaneously beginning during the pre-storage phase of grain development whereas the B1-hordein protein appeared two days before Bmy1 most likely due to variations in gene copy number. Interestingly, the largest increase in hordein and Bmy1 transcript levels occurred between 5 and 9 (Hor2, Hor2-B1, Hor2-B3, Hor3, Hor5-γ1, and Hor5-γ3) or 9 and 13 DAA (Hor1 and Bmy1). Additionally, ubiquitous β-amylase (Bmy2) has a novel expression pattern and was the predominant β-amylase present between 5 and 15 DAA whereas Bmy1 was the predominant β-amylase present between 17 and 35 DAA.