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Nat Genet. 2014 Apr;46(4):398-404. doi: 10.1038/ng.2923. Epub 2014 Mar 16.

Chalk5 encodes a vacuolar H(+)-translocating pyrophosphatase influencing grain chalkiness in rice.

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National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China.
Shanghai Agrobiological Gene Center, Shanghai, China.

Erratum in

  • Nat Genet. 2014 Jun;46(6):657.


Grain chalkiness is a highly undesirable quality trait in the marketing and consumption of rice grain. However, the molecular basis of this trait is poorly understood. Here we show that a major quantitative trait locus (QTL), Chalk5, influences grain chalkiness, which also affects head rice yield and many other quality traits. Chalk5 encodes a vacuolar H(+)-translocating pyrophosphatase (V-PPase) with inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi) hydrolysis and H(+)-translocation activity. Elevated expression of Chalk5 increases the chalkiness of the endosperm, putatively by disturbing the pH homeostasis of the endomembrane trafficking system in developing seeds, which affects the biogenesis of protein bodies and is coupled with a great increase in small vesicle-like structures, thus forming air spaces among endosperm storage substances and resulting in chalky grain. Our results indicate that two consensus nucleotide polymorphisms in the Chalk5 promoter in rice varieties might partly account for the differences in Chalk5 mRNA levels that contribute to natural variation in grain chalkiness.

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