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New high-molecular-weight glutenin (HMW glutenin) sequences isolated from six Psathyrostachys juncea accessions by thermal asymmetric interlaced PCR differ from previous sequences from this species. They showed novel modifications in all of the structural domains, with unique C-terminal residues, and their N-terminal lengths were the longest among the HMW glutenins reported to date. In their repetitive domains, there were three repeatable motif units: 13-residue [GYWH(/I/Y)YT(/Q)S(/T)VTSPQQ], hexapeptide (PGQGQQ), and tetrapeptide (ITVS). The 13-residue repeats were restricted to the current sequences, while the tetrapeptides were only shared by D-hordein and the current sequences. However, these sequences were not expressed as normal HMW glutenin proteins because an in-frame stop codon located in the C-termini interrupted the intact open reading frames. A phylogenetic analysis supported different origins of the P. juncea HMW glutenin sequences than that revealed by a previous study. The current sequences showed a close relationship with D-hordein but appeared to be more primitive.

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The low seedling vigour of Russian wildrye grass ( Psathyrostachys juncea ) (RWR) limits its use. Shading from durum wheat ( Triticum turgidum ) reduced RWR leaf number, tiller number, leaf area and seedling dry weight in a growth room experiment. Treatments with similar shading differed in tiller number and dry weight, which suggested that light quality may have also contributed to these responses. In a second growth room experiment, light intensity (PAR) and red:far-red light ratio (670:730 nm) were altered by coloured plastic filters suspended above seedlings of Russian wildrye, crested wheatgrass ( Agropyron desertorum ) (CWG) and Dahurian wildrye grass ( Elymus dahuricus ) (DWR). Leaf area, tiller number and dry weight of RWR seedlings were reduced by declining red:far-red light ratio while light intensity differences at similar red:far-red ratio did not affect these variables. CWG exhibited similar responses to declining red:far-red light ratio as RWR, except that it exhibited a seedling weight response to light intensity. DWR tiller number was not responsive to low red:far-red light ratio but rather to low light intensity. However, DWR seedling weight, tiller weight and leaf area were responsive to declining red:far-red light ratio. These results indicate that RWR seedlings are sensitive to light quality changes caused by neighbouring plants.

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