Peer-Reviewed Publications

      Natural and induced variations in transcriptional regulator genes result in low-nicotine phenotypes in tobacco

      Shoji, T.; Moriyama, K.; Sierro, N.; Ouadi, S.; Ivanov, N. V.; Hashimoto, T.; Saito, K.

      Jul 26, 2022

      In tobacco, the homologous ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR (ERF) transcription factors ERF199 and ERF189 coordinate the transcription of multiple metabolic genes involved in nicotine biosynthesis. Natural alleles at the NIC1 and NIC2 loci greatly affect alkaloid accumulation and overlap with ERF199 and ERF189 in the tobacco genome, respectively. In this study, we identified several low-nicotine tobacco varieties lacking ERF199 or ERF189 from a tobacco germplasm collection. We characterized the sequence of these new nic1 and nic2 alleles, as well as the previously defined alleles nic1-1 and nic2-1. Moreover, we examined the influence of different nic alleles on alkaloid contents and expression levels of genes related to nicotine biosynthesis. We also demonstrated that the deletion of a distal genomic region attenuates ERF199 expression, resulting in a moderately negative effect on the alkaloid phenotype. Our study provides new insights into the regulation of nicotine biosynthesis and novel genetic resources to breed low-nicotine tobacco.