2018 Volume 68 Issue 5 Pages 561-570
Enhancing salt stress tolerance is a key strategy for increasing global food production. We previously found that long-term salinity stress significantly reduced grain fertility in the salt-sensitive barley (Hordeum vulgare) accession, ‘OUC613’, but not in the salt-tolerant accession, ‘OUE812’, resulting in large differences in grain yield. Here, we examined the underlying causes of the difference in grain fertility between these accessions under long-term treatment with 150 or 200 mM NaCl from the seedling stage to harvest and identified quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for maintaining grain fertility. In an artificial pollination experiment of the two accessions, grain fertility was significantly reduced only in OUC613 plants produced using pollen from plants grown under NaCl stress, suggesting that the low grain fertility of OUC613 was mainly due to reduced pollen fertility. Using QTL-seq combined with exome-capture sequencing and composite interval mapping of recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between OUE812 and OUC613, we identified a QTL (qRP-2Hb) for grain fertility on chromosome 2H. The QTL region includes two genes encoding an F-box protein and a TIFY protein that are associated with male sterility, highlighting the importance of this region for maintaining grain fertility under salt stress.