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The grain yield of cereals is determined by the synergistic interaction between source activity and sink capacity. However, source-sink interactions are far from being fully understood. Therefore, a field experiment was performed in wheat to investigate the responses of flag leaves and grains to sink/source manipulations. Half-degraining delayed but partial defoliation enhanced leaf senescence. Sink/source manipulations influenced the content of reactive oxygen species in the flag leaf and the concentration of phytohormones, including cytokinins, indoleacetic 3-acid and jasmonic acid, in the flag leaves (LDef) and grains (GDef) in defoliated plants and flag leaves (LDG) and grain (GDG) in de-grained plants. Isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ)-based quantitative proteomic analysis indicated that at 16 days after manipulation, a total of 97 and 59 differentially expressed proteins (DEPs) from various functional categories were observed in the LDG and LDef groups, respectively, compared with the control, and 115 and 121 DEPs were observed in the GDG and GDef groups, respectively. The gene ontology annotation terms of the DEPs mainly included carbon fixation, hydrogen peroxide catabolic process, chloroplast and cytoplasm, oxidoreductase activity and glutamate synthase activity in the flag leaves of manipulated plants and organonitrogen compound metabolic process, cytoplasm, vacuolar membrane, CoA carboxylase activity, starch synthase activity and nutrient reservoir activity in the grains of manipulated plants. KEGG pathway enrichment analysis revealed that photosynthesis, carbon, nitrogen and pyruvate metabolism and glycolysis/gluconeogenesis were the processes most affected by sink/source manipulations. Sink/source manipulations affected the activities of amylase and proteinases and, ultimately, changed the mass per grain. Manipulations to change the sink/source ratio affect hormone levels; hydrolytic enzyme activities; metabolism of carbon, nitrogen and other main compounds; stress resistance; and leaf senescence and thus influence grain mass.


Xuemei Lv, Yan Zhang, Yunxiu Zhang, Shoujin Fan, Lingan Kong. Source-sink modifications affect leaf senescence and grain mass in wheat as revealed by proteomic analysis. BMC plant biology. 2020 Jun 05;20(1):257

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PMID: 32503423

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