Identifying nutrient-status dependent elements regulating the wheat transcriptional response to neighbours

We propose to use RNAseq to investigate the wheat response to the presence of neighbour under low and high nutrient conditions, with the aim of identifying nutrient-status dependent regulators of the transcriptional response to neighbours.

The Idea

Our previous work has shown that wheat plants grown under high nutrient conditions showed a clear response to the presence of a neighbour. Under those conditions, wheat lateral roots were shorter in the presence of a blackgrass (Alopecurus myosuroides L.) or Brachypodium dystachion (competing neighbours) compared to laterals from a wheat plant grown alone, this is largely driven by a higher proportion of laterals with a length < 0.5cm in the presence of a neighbour. However, under low nutrients conditions there was no significant neighbour effect on lateral roots length. This lead to the hypothesis that, wheat plants which are nutrient replete are more sensitive, or more likely to respond, to the presence of a neighbour, and that the nutrient status of the plants is affecting the response to neighbour. As an exploratory experiment, we propose to compare the transcriptome of lateral roots (controlled for size, i.e. lateral roots shorter than 0.5) from wheat plants grown under high (HN) vs. low nutrient (LN) conditions (similar to those used in our previous work), and identify genes that are differentially regulated. In addition, we will compare the lateral root transcriptome of plants grown in the presence (wbg) or absence (w1) of a neighbour, under low vs high nutrient conditions. Thus, we will have samples from four conditions: w1-HN, w1-LN, wbg-HN, wbg-LN.


The Team

Dr Stéphanie Swarbreck,
Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge

Dr David Swarbreck,
Research Group Leader, Regulatory Genomics, Earlham Institute, Norwich

Project Outputs

Project Report

This project is due to report in 2018.

Project Proposal

Original proposal and application


Project Resources