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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Characterization of Sucrose transporter alleles and their association with seed yield-related traits in Brassica napus L

Fupeng Li, Chaozhi Ma*, Xia Wang, Changbin Gao, Jianfeng Zhang, Yuanyuan Wang, Na Cong, Xinghua Li, Jing Wen, Bin Yi, Jinxiong Shen, Jinxing Tu and Tingdong Fu

Author Affiliations

National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, National Center of Rapeseed Improvement in Wuhan, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China

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BMC Plant Biology 2011, 11:168  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-11-168

Published: 23 November 2011



Sucrose is the primary photosynthesis product and the principal translocating form within higher plants. Sucrose transporters (SUC/SUT) play a critical role in phloem loading and unloading. Photoassimilate transport is a major limiting factor for seed yield. Our previous research demonstrated that SUT co-localizes with yield-related quantitative trait loci. This paper reports the isolation of BnA7.SUT1 alleles and their promoters and their association with yield-related traits.


Two novel BnA7.SUT1 genes were isolated from B. napus lines 'Eagle' and 'S-1300' and designated as BnA7.SUT1.a and BnA7.SUT1.b, respectively. The BnA7.SUT1 protein exhibited typical SUT features and showed high amino acid homology with related species. Promoters of BnA7.SUT1.a and BnA7.SUT1.b were also isolated and classified as pBnA7.SUT1.a and pBnA7.SUT1.b, respectively. Four dominant sequence-characterized amplified region markers were developed to distinguish BnA7.SUT1.a and BnA7.SUT1.b. The two genes were estimated as alleles with two segregating populations (F2 and BC1) obtained by crossing '3715'×'3769'. BnA7.SUT1 was mapped to the A7 linkage group of the TN doubled haploid population. In silico analysis of 55 segmental BnA7.SUT1 alleles resulted three BnA7.SUT1 clusters: pBnA7.SUT1.a- BnA7.SUT1.a (type I), pBnA7.SUT1.b- BnA7.SUT1.a (type II), and pBnA7.SUT1.b- BnA7.SUT1.b (type III). Association analysis with a diverse panel of 55 rapeseed lines identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in promoter and coding domain sequences of BnA7.SUT1 that were significantly associated with one of three yield-related traits: number of effective first branches (EFB), siliques per plant (SP), and seed weight (n = 1000) (TSW) across all four environments examined. SNPs at other BnA7.SUT1 sites were also significantly associated with at least one of six yield-related traits: EFB, SP, number of seeds per silique, seed yield per plant, block yield, and TSW. Expression levels varied over various tissue/organs at the seed-filling stage, and BnA7.SUT1 expression positively correlated with EFB and TSW.


Sequence, mapping, association, and expression analyses collectively showed significant diversity between the two BnA7.SUT1 alleles, which control some of the phenotypic variation for branch number and seed weight in B. napus consistent with expression levels. The associations between allelic variation and yield-related traits may facilitate selection of better genotypes in breeding.