Genetic variations in ARE1 mediate grain yield by
modulating nitrogen utilization in rice
, Jinqiang Nian
, Xianzhi Xie
, Hong Yu
, Jian Zhang
, Jiaoteng Bai
, Guojun Dong
, Bo Bai
, Lichao Chen
, Qingjun Xie
, Jian Feng
, Xiaolu Yang
, Juli Peng
, Fan Chen
, Jiayang Li
& Jianru Zuo
In crops, nitrogen directly determines productivity and biomass. However, the improvement
of nitrogen utilization efﬁciency (NUE) is still a major challenge in modern agriculture. Here,
we report the characterization of are1, a genetic suppressor of a rice fd-gogat mutant defective
in nitrogen assimilation. ARE1 is a highly conserved gene, encoding a chloroplast-localized
protein. Loss-of-function mutations in ARE1 cause delayed senescence and result in 10–20%
grain yield increases, hence enhance NUE under nitrogen-limiting conditions. Analysis of a
panel of 2155 rice varieties reveals that 18% indica and 48% aus accessions carry small
insertions in the ARE1 promoter, which result in a reduction in ARE1 expression and an
increase in grain yield under nitrogen-limiting conditions. We propose that ARE1 is a key
mediator of NUE and represents a promising target for breeding high-yield cultivars under
State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics and National Plant Gene Research Center, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of
Sciences, 100101 Beijing, China.
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100049 Beijing, China.
Shandong Rice Research Institute, Shandong Academy
of Agricultural Sciences, 250100 Jinan, China.
State Key Laboratory of Rice Biology, China National Rice Research Institute, Chinese Academy of
Agricultural Sciences, 310006 Hangzhou, China.
State Key Laboratory of Molecular Developmental Biology, Institute of Genetics and Developmental
Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100101 Beijing, China.
Chinese Academy of Sciences Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, 200032
Shanghai, China. Qing Wang, Jinqiang Nian and Xianzhi Xie contributed equally to this work. Correspondence and requests for materials should be
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