Chinese Bulletin of Botany ›› 2023, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (2): 194-198.DOI: 10.11983/CBB23038

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Coordinated Regulation of Gibberellin and Brassinosteroid Signalings Drives Toward a Sustainable “Green Revolution” by Breeding the New Generation of High-yield Wheat

Ming-Yi Bai1, Jinrong Peng2, Xiangdong Fu3,*()   

  1. 1The Key Laboratory of Plant Development and Environmental Adaptation Biology, Ministry of Education, School of Life Sciences, Shandong University, Qingdao 266237, China
    2College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
    3State Key Laboratory of Plant Cell and Chromosome Engineering, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2023-03-25 Accepted:2023-04-18 Online:2023-03-01 Published:2023-04-26
  • Contact: *E-mail:

Abstract: Since the 1960s, the utilization of semi-dwarfing genes Rht-B1b and Rht-D1b has significantly improved the lodging resistance and harvest index of wheat (Triticum aestivum), leading to a doubling of global wheat production and triggering the “Green Revolution” in agriculture. Rht-B1b and Rht-D1b encode plant growth-inhibiting factors, DELLA proteins, which are negative regulatory factors in the gibberellin (GA) signaling pathway. Accumulation of DELLA proteins not only inhibits cell division and elongation, leading to a dwarf phenotype, but also suppresses photosynthesis and nitrogen use efficiency, resulting in semi-dwarf varieties requiring higher fertilizer inputs to achieve high yields. Addressing the challenge of “reducing fertilizer inputs while increasing efficiency” is a crucial issue for achieving green and low-carbon agriculture. Recently, Zhongfu Ni and his colleagues from China Agricultural University identified a novel “semi-dwarfing” regulatory module with potential breeding applications and demonstrated that reducing brassinosteroid (BR) signaling could enhance grain yield of wheat “Green Revolution” varieties (GRVs). They isolated and characterized a major QTL responsible for plant height and 1000-grain weight in wheat. Positional cloning and functional analysis revealed that this QTL was associated with a ~500 kb fragment deletion in the Heng597 genome, designated as r-e-z, which contains Rht-B1 and ZnF-B (encoding a RING E3 ligase). ZnF-B was found to positively regulate BR signaling by triggering the degradation of BR signaling repressor BRI1 Kinase Inhibitor (TaBKI1). Further experiments showed that deletion of ZnF-B not only caused the semi-dwarf phenotypes in the absence of Rht-B1b and Rht-D1b alleles, but also enhanced grain yield at low nitrogen fertilization levels. Thus, manipulation of GA and BR signaling provides a new breeding strategy to improve grain yield and nitrogen use efficiency of wheat GRVs without affecting beneficial semi-dwarfism, which will drive toward a new “Green Revolution” in wheat.

Key words: wheat, Green Revolution, plant height, gibberellin, brassinosteroid