A trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatase enhances anaerobic germination tolerance in rice.
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Global socioeconomic developments create strong incentives for farmers to shift from transplanted to direct-seeded rice (DSR) as a means of intensification and economization(1). Rice production must increase to ensure food security(2) and the bulk of this increase will have to be achieved through intensification of cultivation, because expansion of cultivated areas is reaching sustainable limits(3). Anaerobic germination tolerance, which enables uniform germination and seedling establishment under submergence(4), is a key trait for the development of tropical DSR varieties(5,6). Here, we identify a trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatase gene, OsTPP7, as the genetic determinant in qAG-9-2, a major quantitative trait locus (QTL) for anaerobic germination tolerance7. OsTPP7 is involved in trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P) metabolism, central to an energy sensor that determines anabolism or catabolism depending on local sucrose availability(8,9). OsTPP7 activity may increase sink strength in proliferating heterotrophic tissues by indicating low sugar availability through increased T6P turnover, thus enhancing starch mobilization to drive growth kinetics of the germinating embryo and elongating coleoptile, which consequently enhances anaerobic germination tolerance.
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