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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Aug 26;105(34):12623-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0805303105. Epub 2008 Aug 21.

Molecular identification of a major quantitative trait locus, qLTG3-1, controlling low-temperature germinability in rice.

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Plant Breeding and Production Division, Agricultural Research Institute, HOKUREN Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives, Naganuma, Hokkaido 0691317, Japan.


Tolerance to abiotic stress is an important agronomic trait in crops and is controlled by many genes, which are called quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Identification of these QTLs will contribute not only to the understanding of plant biology but also for plant breeding, to achieve stable crop production around the world. Previously, we mapped three QTLs controlling low-temperature tolerance at the germination stage (called low-temperature germinability). To understand the molecular basis of one of these QTLs, qLTG3-1 (quantitative trait locus for low-temperature germinability on chromosome 3), map-based cloning was performed, and this QTL was shown to be encoded by a protein of unknown function. The QTL qLTG3-1 is strongly expressed in the embryo during seed germination. Before and during seed germination, specific localization of beta-glucuronidase staining in the tissues covering the embryo, which involved the epiblast covering the coleoptile and the aleurone layer of the seed coat, was observed. Expression of qLTG3-1 was tightly associated with vacuolation of the tissues covering the embryo. This may cause tissue weakening, resulting in reduction of the mechanical resistance to the growth potential of the coleoptile. These phenomena are quite similar to the model system of seed germination presented by dicot plants, suggesting that this model may be conserved in both dicot and monocot plants.

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