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HZAU’s New Findings: Natural Variation at OsCERK1 Regulates AMF in Rice

Recently, a paper entitled Natural Variation at OsCERK1 Regulates Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Symbiosis in Rice was published on New Phytologist. The paper was co-written by Duanmu Deqiang’s team and Cao Yangrong’s team of the State Key Lab of Agricultural Microbiology in Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU). This study revealed that the natural variation of OsCERK1 gene regulates the symbiosis of rice and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF).
AMF, a kind of soil fungi, is widely distributed on earth. It can not only make use of carbon sources such as lipids produced by plants to promote its own growth, but also can help plants absorb water and mineral salts (mainly phosphorus) in the soil in return. In addition, AMF can improve plant drought resistance, nutritional conditions, salt tolerance and disease resistance. Dongxiang wild rice (DY), discovered in 1976 in Jiangxi Province, China(28°14 ́N), has been the northernmost wild rice in the world so far. It is regarded as rare as Chinese panda because it contains excellent genes that are not found in other rice cultivars.
It is this study that firstly discoveredthat Dongxiang wild rice (DY) exhibited a stronger colonization with AMF than the rice cultivar Zhongzao 35 (ZZ35).Chromosome-segment substitution lines were constructed and the OsCERK1 gene from DY was mapped. OsCERK1 gene (OsCERK1DY) from DY was localized and cloned, and the symbiosis co-efficiency of rice and AMF was confirmed by analyzing the transgenic plants and phenotype of ZH11 rice. Compared with OsCERK1ZH11, there occurred three kinds of gene variation inOsCERK1DY, namely, I118T, S121T and T284M. The OsCERK1DY haplotype was absent from 4,660 cultivated rice varieties. OsCERK1 loci showed highly specific differentiation patterns among Japonica, Indica and aus rice populations. All these indicate that OsCERK1 may have been artificially selected in the history of rice breeding.
It was also found that OsCERK1DY hasa stronger immune response relative to OsCERK1ZH11 and OsCERK1ZZ35, and it can significantly increase the resistance of transgenic rice against rice blast. OsCERK1DY is beneficial to the symbiosis of rice and AMF, and effectively improves the phosphorus uptake and yield per plant of rice. OsCERK1DY can mediate stronger immune response in plant leaves and increase rice resistance against blast. This indicates that there is a bright prospect that OsCERK1DY from wild rice will be applied in the cultivation of "green super rice".
This study was jointly completed by Duanmu Deqiang’s team and Cao Yangrong’s team. Jiangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences finished the construction of rice gene mapping population. Huang Renliang, an in-service doctor, is the first author, and Prof. Duanmu Deqiang and Prof. Cao Yangrong are the corresponding authors of the paper. At the same time, some other researcher and professors also offered their suggestions for the paper. Besides, the related work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Independent Science and Technology Innovation Fund of HZAU.



Translated by: Zheng Zizhuo
Supervised by: Wang Xiaoyan