Agronomy and Horticulture Department



Brian M. Waters

Date of this Version



Published in Plant and Soil: An International Journal on Plant-Soil Relationships 371 (2013), pp. 573–591; doi: 10.1007/s11104-013-1713-1


Copyright © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Used by permission.


Aims — Decreased expression of TaNAM genes by RNAi results in delayed senescence and decreased grain protein, iron, and zinc concentrations. Here, we determined whether NAM expression level alters onset of senescence under stress conditions, whether delayed senescence in the TaNAM-RNAi line resulted in improved tolerance to post-anthesis abiotic stress, and determined the effects of post-anthesis abiotic stress on N and mineral remobilization and partitioning to grain.

Methods — Greenhouse-grown WT and TaNAM-RNAi wheat were characterized in two studies: three levels of N fertility or water limitation during grain fill. Studies were conducted under both optimal and heat stress temperatures. Senescence onset was determined by monitoring flag leaf chlorophyll.

Results — Under optimal temperatures, TaNAM-RNAi plants had a yield advantage at lower N. TaNAM-RNAi plants had delayed senescence relative to the WT and lower grain protein and mineral concentrations, N remobilization efficiency, and partitioning of N and most minerals to grain.

Conclusions — Nutritional quality of TaNAM-RNAi grain was consistently lower than WT. Delayed senescence of TaNAM-RNAi plants provided a yield advantage under optimal temperatures but not under water or heat stress. Discovery of specific NAM protein targets may allow separation of the delayed senescence and nutrient partitioning traits, which could be used for improvement of wheat.

Includes supplementary materials.