About this Research Topic
Over many decades, maize (Zea mays) has repeatedly proved to be an elegant model species for the molecular genetic characterisation of C4 plant biology. For example, much of our current knowledge on the fundamental processes of C4 carbon fixation, sugar partitioning, and storage in the stems of C4 species, specifically the C4 monocotyledonous grasses, stem from the use of the maize model. Although the maize model has enabled great advancement in the field, maize possesses complex genetics and remains challenging to routinely manipulate with the transformation platforms currently available. Therefore, the plant biology research community would benefit greatly from the establishment of an additional C4 model species for the continued advancement of our understanding of the unique anatomy and physiology of plant species that use the C4 pathway of photosynthesis.
C4 plant biomass is of ever-increasing social relevance considering the demonstration that it forms an extremely important contribution to biofuel production: a contribution that positively impacts energy security while minimising environmental impact. Furthermore, biofuel makes an important contribution to energy supply diversification, with biofuel production from cereals, such as from maize kernels, now an established industry. However, the consumption of an important agricultural product such as maize kernels as a food source for humans, or its use as animal feed, competes strongly for this precious cropping product. In addition to maize, the agronomically important cropping species, sorghum, sugarcane, pearl millet, foxtail millet (Setaria italica), and common millet, as well as the candidate biofuel crops of switchgrass and Napier grass, all utilise the C4 pathway of photosynthesis.
To elucidate the molecular genetic basis of plants possessing the C4 pathway of photosynthesis, the closely related wild relative of foxtail millet, green foxtail (Setaria viridis) has emerged as a promising model. Setaria viridis possess several characteristics of a model plant species, including; (i) a small and reasonably well-annotated genome; (ii) a small stature that requires minimal cultivation space; (iii) a rapid life cycle from seed to seed, and; (iv) a capacity for each plant to produce an abundance of seeds. More recently, numerous research groups have demonstrated S. viridis to be amenable to molecular modification via Agrobacterium tumefaciens (Agrobacterium)-mediated transformation: a demonstration that opens a new avenue for the molecular genetic characterisation of the specialised anatomical and physiological features of C4 plants.
This Research Topic aims to collect recent advances in all aspects of the molecular genetic characterisation of Setaria viridis to further highlight the use of this species as a molecular model for C4 plant biology. We welcome the submission of all article types, including original research, methodology advancements, opinion pieces, reviews, and mini-reviews, on Setaria viridis molecular genetics.
Topics for article submission include;
• Setaria italic and S. viridis germplasm diversity
• Setaria genomic profiling (including methylomics)
• Setaria transcriptomic profiling (including small RNA profiling)
• Setaria proteomic profiling (including metabolics)
• Setaria gene expression regulation
• Molecular responses of Setaria species to abiotic and biotic stress
• Molecular modification of Setaria viridis
• Current protocols to maximise transformation efficiency of Setaria viridis (including new tools for Setaria transformation)
• Photoassimilate transport and signalling in Setaria viridis (including molecular breeding of Setaria viridis via techniques such as gene editing)
Keywords: <i>Setaria viridis</i>, germplasm diversity, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, gene expression regulation, molecular modification and plant transformation, molecular breeding
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.