Over-expressing taspa-b reduces prolamin and starch accumulation in wheat (Triticum aestivum l.) grains

Dandan Guo, Qiling Hou, Runqi Zhang, Hongyao Lou, Yinghui Li, Yufeng Zhang, Mingshan You, Chaojie Xie, Rongqi Liang, Baoyun Li

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Starch and prolamin composition and content are important indexes for determining the processing and nutritional quality of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grains. Several transcription factors (TFs) regulate gene expression during starch and protein biosynthesis in wheat. Storage protein activator (TaSPA), a member of the basic leucine zipper (bZIP) family, has been reported to activate glutenin genes and is correlated to starch synthesis related genes. In this study, we generated TaSPA-B overexpressing (OE) transgenic wheat lines. Compared with wild-type (WT) plants, the starch content was slightly reduced and starch granules exhibited a more polarized distribution in the TaSPA-B OE lines. Moreover, glutenin and ω-gliadin contents were significantly reduced, with lower expression levels of related genes (e.g., By15, Dx2, and ω-1,2 gliadin gene). RNA-seq analysis identified 2023 differentially expressed genes (DEGs). The low expression of some DEGs (e.g., SUSase, ADPase, Pho1, Waxy, SBE, SSI, and SS II a) might explain the reduction of starch contents. Some TFs involved in glutenin and starch synthesis might be regulated by TaSPA-B, for example, TaPBF was reduced in TaSPA-B OE-3 lines. In addition, dual-luciferase reporter assay indicated that both TaSPA-B and TaPBF could transactivate the promoter of ω-1,2 gliadin gene. These results suggest that TaSPA-B regulates a complex gene network and plays an important role in starch and protein biosynthesis in wheat.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3257
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - 5 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Prolamin
  • Starch
  • TaSPA
  • Transcriptome sequencing
  • Triticum aestivum L
  • Wheat grains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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