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OsREL2, a rice TOPLESS homolog functions in axillary meristem development in rice inflorescence

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Abstract

The morphology of the rice inflorescence, called the panicle, is determined mainly by the activities of axillary meristems including primary, secondary, and spikelet meristems. Recently, in maize, the RAMOSA1 ENHANCER LOCUS2 (REL2) gene, orthologous to the Arabidopsis shoot apical meristem fate-determining TOPLESS, was shown to be involved in the regulation of axillary meristem determinacy. In order to investigate the function of the rice REL2 homolog, we identified and characterized the rice REL2 gene (OsREL2). Compared to other rice TPL homologs, OsREL2 gene expression stayed relatively low throughout panicle development. We characterized a T-DNA insertion osrel2 mutant that showed pleiotropic phenotypic defects, such as defects in panicle heading, sterile lemma elongation, and panicle development, suggesting the OsREL2 functions in multiple developmental processes. In particular, osrel2 developed shorter axillary branches and reduced numbers of lateral organs on axillary branches in comparison to the wild-type, indicating that OsREL2 is important in axillary meristem maintenance. Interestingly, osrel2 produced more primary branches and fewer secondary branches than the wild-type. These results suggest that OsREL2 is involved in branch formation regulation, presumably by suppressing primary branch formation and promoting secondary branch formation.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Dr. Andrea Gallavotti and Zara Tabi at the University of California San Diego for sharing BiFC and unpublished results. The study was funded by the Sogang University Research Grants (201010056 and 201114003 to B.-h.L.), the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant by the Korean Government (MEST) (2011-0011443 to B.h.L. and 2011-0011760 and 2011-0031386 to T.-H.K.), the World Class University program by the Korean Government (MEST) (R33-2008-000-10168-0 to J.S.J.) and the Next-Generation BioGreen 21 Program by the Korean Government Rural Development Administration of the Korean Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (PJ008156012011 to J.S.J.).

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Correspondence to Byeong-ha Lee.

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Y. Kwon and S. Yu contributed equally to this work.

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Kwon, Y., Yu, Si., Park, Jh. et al. OsREL2, a rice TOPLESS homolog functions in axillary meristem development in rice inflorescence. Plant Biotechnol Rep 6, 213–224 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11816-011-0214-z

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