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Acta Agron Sin ›› 2016, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (09): 1298-1308.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1006.2016.01298


Molecular Cloning of Two Maize (Zea mays) CRY1a Genes and Their Expression Patterns of in Response to Different Light Treatments

YAN Lei1,2,**,YANG Zong-Ju2,3,**,SU Liang2,XIAO Yang3,GUO Lin2,SONG Mei-Fang2,4,SUN Lei2,3,MENG Fan-Hua2,BAI Jian-Rong1,5,*,YANG Jian-Ping2,*   

  1. 1 College of Biology Engineering, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China; 2 Institute of Crop Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China; 3Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China; 4Beijing Radiation Center, Beijing 100875, China; 5Institute of Crop Sciences, Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Taiyuan 030031, China
  • Received:2016-01-20 Revised:2016-05-09 Online:2016-09-12 Published:2016-06-02
  • Contact: Yang Jianping,E-mail: yangjianping02@caas.cn, Tel: 010-82105859; Bai jianrong,E-mail: jrbai@sohu.com, Tel: 0351-7639551 E-mail:yanlei2723@126.com
  • Supported by:

    This study was supported by the Special project of national key research and development project (SQ2016ZY03002918), the Genetically Modified Organisms Breeding Major Projects of China (2016ZX08010002-003-002), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31570268), the Beijing Natural Science Foundation (6151002), and the Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program (ASTIP).


Cryptochromes are blue light receptors that regulate the development of growth and circadian clock in plants. To stress study the functions of crytochrome 1 (CRY1) on photomorphogenesis and flowering regulation in maize (Zea mays L.), we isolated the cDNA clones of two ZmCRY1a genes from inbred line B73 by homologous cloning, and designated as ZmCRY1a1 and ZmCRY1a2. The length of both ZmCRY1a coding DNA sequences were 2124 nucleotides, which encoded 707 amino acid residues. Bioinformatics analyses were employed to predict their function domains and to build a phylogenetic relationship tree among plant CRY1 homologs by the DNAMAN software and the NCBI blast. The two ZmCRY1a proteins possessed three function domains: DNA photolyase, FAD binding, and Crytochrome C domains. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the two ZmCRY1a proteins belonged to the same branch with OsCRY1a, while showing low similarity to other CRY1 proteins from dicotyledonous species, such as A. thaliana and Glycine max. The transcription abundances of two ZmCRY1a genes in different organs and in response to light treatments were detected using quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). qRT-PCR assays indicated that the two ZmCRY1a genes were highly expressed in leaf with 52.1 or 6.2 times higher than ZmCRY1a1 abundance in root, respectively. The transcription abundances of the both genes were very high under different continuous light conditions, especially in blue and far-red light. Although encoding blue light receptors, they both greatly responded to dark-to-far-red and dark-to-red transitions. In addition, their transcription abundances could also respond to photoperiod treatment (both long-day and short-day conditions). In long-day condition, ZmCRY1a1 abundance hadfive peaks and ZmCRY1a2 abundance hadfour peaks. In short-day condition, both ZmCRY1a genes had two big peaks which happened at 10 h and 14 h after transition into darkness. Our results suggest that both ZmCRY1a genes may be involved in seedling de-etiolation and flowering time control, thus their roles in crop improvement are worthy of more exploration in the future.

Key words: Zea mays.L, Cryptochrome, Light signaling transduction, Gene cloning, Expression pattern

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