The metabolic signature of biomass formation in barley

Mohammad R. Ghaffari, Fahimeh Shahinnia, Björn Usadel, Björn Junker, Falk Schreiber, Nese Sreenivasulu, Mohammad R. Hajirezaei

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    The network analysis of genome-wide transcriptome responses, metabolic signatures and enzymes' relationship to biomass formation has been studied in a diverse panel of 12 barley accessions during vegetative and reproductive stages. The primary metabolites and enzymes involved in central metabolism that determine the accumulation of shoot biomass at the vegetative stage of barley development are primarily being linked to sucrose accumulation and sucrose synthase activity. Interestingly, the metabolic and enzyme links which are strongly associated with biomass accumulation during reproductive stages are related to starch accumulation and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates citrate, malate, trans-aconitate and isocitrate. Additional significant associations were also found for UDP glucose, ATP and the amino acids isoleucine, valine, glutamate and histidine during the reproductive stage. A network analysis resulted in a combined identification of metabolite and enzyme signatures indicative for grain weight accumulation that was correlated with the activity of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase), a rate-limiting enzyme involved in starch biosynthesis, and with that of alanine amino transferase involved in the synthesis of storage proteins. We propose that the mechanism related to vegetative and reproductive biomass formation vs. seed biomass formation is being linked to distinct fluxes regulating sucrose, starch, sugars and amino acids as central resources. These distinct biomarkers can be used to engineer biomass production and grain weight in barley.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1943-1960
    Number of pages18
    JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


    • Biomass
    • Central metabolism
    • Hordeum vulgare L
    • Metabolomics
    • Systems biology
    • Transcriptomics

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