Wheat Grain Research Goes Translational Regulation

Guo, Chen, Peng, and colleagues study the translational regulation of gene expression during grain development in bread wheat.

By Yiwen Guo, Yongming Chen, and Huiru Peng

Frontiers Science Center for Molecular Design Breeding, Key Laboratory of Crop Heterosis and Utilization, Beijing Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.

 Background: Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is one of the most widely cultivated cereal crops worldwide and provides most of the calories consumed by humans. DNA contains the genetic codes and is first transcribed to produce mRNAs, which are then translated to produce proteins. Translational regulation is a widespread mechanism that rapidly modulates gene expression to maintain growth and development. The current investigations into gene regulation in wheat grains focus on the transcriptional level, neglecting the translational level.

Question: How is gene expression regulated at the translational level in developing wheat grains? What functional proteins are involved in grain development?

Findings: We used two approaches, namely ribosome profiling and polysome profiling, to obtain a unique translatome dataset of developing bread wheat grain. The translation of many functional genes is modulated in a stage-specific manner. The divergence of the translational regulation between the wheat subgenomes is pervasive, which increases the expression flexibility of allohexaploid wheat. Widespread, previously unannotated open reading frames (ORFs) are actively expressed in wheat grains. Upstream open reading frames (uORFs) as translational regulatory elements can repress or even activate the translation of mRNAs. Gene translation may be combinatorially modulated by uORFs, downstream ORFs, and microRNAs.

Next steps: Our work presents valuable translatomic resources for understanding the translational control of gene expression during wheat grain development. Further studies will explore functional translational regulatory elements to improve wheat yield and quality.


Yiwen Guo, Yongming Chen, Yongfa Wang, Xiaojia Wu, Xiaoyu Zhang, Weiwei Mao, Hongjian Yu, Kai Guo, Jin Xu, Liang Ma, Weilong Guo, Zhaorong Hu, Mingming Xin, Yingyin Yao, Zhongfu Ni, Qixin Sun, and Huiru Peng. (2023). The translational landscape of bread wheat during grain development. https://doi.org/10.1093/plcell/koad075



Guo、Chen和Peng等人在The Plant Cell在线发表了题为“The translational landscape of bread wheat during grain development”的研究论文,构建了小麦籽粒发育的翻译组图谱,揭示了籽粒发育过程的翻译调控机制。