A Brassica napus Reductase Gene Dissected by Associative Transcriptomics Enhances Plant Adaption to Freezing Stress

Yong Huang, Muhammad Azhar Hussain, Dan Luo, Hongzhi Xu, Chuan Zeng, Lenka Havlickova, Ian Bancroft, Zhitao Tian, Xuekun Zhang, Yong Cheng, Xiling Zou, Guangyuan Lu*, Yan Lv

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cold treatment (vernalization) is required for winter crops such as rapeseed (Brassica napus L.). However, excessive exposure to low temperature (LT) in winter is also a stress for the semi-winter, early-flowering rapeseed varieties widely cultivated in China. Photosynthetic efficiency is one of the key determinants, and thus a good indicator for LT tolerance in plants. So far, the genetic basis underlying photosynthetic efficiency is poorly understood in rapeseed. Here the current study used Associative Transcriptomics to identify genetic loci controlling photosynthetic gas exchange parameters in a diversity panel comprising 123 accessions. A total of 201 significant Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and 147 Gene Expression Markers (GEMs) were detected, leading to the identification of 22 candidate genes. Of these, Cab026133.1, an ortholog of the Arabidopsis gene AT2G29300.2 encoding a tropinone reductase (BnTR1), was further confirmed to be closely linked to transpiration rate. Ectopic expressing BnTR1 in Arabidopsis plants significantly increased the transpiration rate and enhanced LT tolerance under freezing conditions. Also, a much higher level of alkaloids content was observed in the transgenic Arabidopsis plants, which could help protect against LT stress. Together, the current study showed that AT is an effective approach for dissecting LT tolerance trait in rapeseed and that BnTR1 is a good target gene for the genetic improvement of LT tolerance in plant.

Original languageEnglish
Article number971
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 Huang, Hussain, Luo, Xu, Zeng, Havlickova, Bancroft, Tian, Zhang, Cheng, Zou, Lu and Lv.


  • alkaloid
  • associative transcriptomics
  • photosynthetic gas exchange parameter
  • rapeseed
  • tropinone reductase

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