2013 Volume 63 Issue 1 Pages 58-67
Low temperature induces expression of Cor (cold-responsive)/Lea (late embryogenesis-abundant) gene family members through C-repeat binding factor (CBF) transcription factors in common wheat. However, the relationship between the genetic loci controlling cold-responsive gene expression and freezing tolerance is unclear. In expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analysis, accumulated transcripts of Cor/Lea and CBF genes were quantified in recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between two common wheat cultivars with different levels of freezing tolerance. Four eQTLs controlling five cold-responsive genes were found, and the major eQTL with the greatest effect was located on the long arm of chromosome 5A. At least the 1D and 5A eQTLs played important roles in development of freezing tolerance in common wheat. The chromosomal location of the 5A eQTL, controlling four cold-responsive genes, coincided with a region homoeologous to a frost-tolerance locus (Fr-Am2) reported as a CBF cluster region in einkorn wheat. The 5A eQTL plays a significant role through Cor/Lea gene expression in cold acclimation of wheat. In addition, our results suggest that one or more CBF copies at the Fr-2 region positively regulate other copies, which might amplify the positive effects of the CBF cluster on downstream Cor/Lea gene activation.