All land plants seal their above ground body parts with a lipid-rich hydrophobic barrier called the cuticle to protect themselves from dehydration and other terrestrial threats. Mutational studies in several model species have identified multiple loci regulating cuticular metabolism and development. Of particular importance are the eceriferum (cer) mutants characterized by a loss of cuticular wax. Some barley cer mutants, including cer-x, show defects in the distinctive β-diketone-enriched wax bloom on reproductive stage leaf sheaths, stems, and spikes. We exploited extensive allelic populations, near-isogenic lines, and powerful genotyping platforms to identify variation in the HvWAX INDUCER1 (HvWIN1) gene, encoding a SHINE transcription factor, as underlying cer-x. Comparing the cer-x allelic glossy sheath4.l Bowman Near Isogenic Line BW407 to cv. Bowman revealed an increased cuticular permeability in tissues showing reduced accumulation of β-diketones and altered cuticular metabolic gene expression in BW407. Analyses across the barley pangenome and hundreds of exome-capture datasets revealed high sequence conservation of HvWIN1 and two non-synonymous variants exclusive to the cultivated germplasm. Taken together, we suggest that variation in HvWIN1 controls multiple cuticular features in barley.
- SHINE transcription factor