A family of CBF transcription factors plays a major role in reconfiguring the plant transcriptome in response to low-freezing temperature in temperate cereals. In barley, more than 13 HvCBF genes map coincident with the major QTL FR-H2 suggesting them as candidates to explain the function of the locus. Variation in copy number (CNV) of specific HvCBFs was assayed in a panel of 41 barley genotypes using RT-qPCR. Taking advantage of an accurate phenotyping that combined Fv/Fm and field survival, resistance-associated variants within FR-H2 were identified. Genotypes with an increased copy number of HvCBF4 and HvCBF2 (at least ten and eight copies, respectively) showed greater frost resistance. A CAPS marker able to distinguish the CBF2A, CBF2B and CBF2A/B forms was developed and showed that all the higher-ranking genotypes in term of resistance harbour only CBF2A, while other resistant winter genotypes harbour also CBF2B, although at a lower CNV. In addition to the major involvement of the HvCBF4-HvCBF2 genomic segment in the proximal cluster of CBF elements, a negative role of HvCBF3 in the distal cluster was identified. Multiple linear regression models taking into account allelic variation at FR-H1/VRN-H1 explained 0.434 and 0.550 (both at p < 0.001) of the phenotypic variation for Fv/Fm and field survival respectively, while no interaction effect between CNV at the HvCBFs and FR-H1/VRN-H1 was found. Altogether our data suggest a major involvement of the CBF genes located in the proximal cluster, with no apparent involvement of the central cluster contrary to what was reported for wheat.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 23, 2016
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