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CAAS identifies a TCP transcription factor essential for tendril development in cucumber

DATE:2015-11-12       SOURCE:MOA
Rare genetic variants are abundant in genomes but less tractable in genome wide association study. CAAS reportedly exploited a strategy of rare variation mapping to discover a gene essential to tendril development in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.).
In a collection of >3,000 lines, CAAS researchers discovered a unique tendril-less line that forms branches instead of tendrils and therefore, loses its climbing ability. 
The study hypothesized that this unusual phenotype was caused by a rare variation and subsequently identified the causative single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).
The affected gene TEN is conserved within the cucurbits and is expressed specially in tendrils, representing a new organ identity gene.
The variation occurs within a protein motif unique to the cucurbits and apparently impairs its function as a transcriptional activator.
Analyses of transcriptomes from near-isogenic lines identified downstream genes required for tendril’s capability to sense and climb a support.
This study provides an example to explore rare functional variants in plant genomes, and its major findings were pubulished on Molecular Plant, available online 24 October 2015.
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