Homeobox Is Pivotal for OsWUS Controlling Tiller Development and Female Fertility in Rice
Mjomba, Frederick Mwamburi
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OsWUS has recently been shown to be a transcription factor gene critical for tiller development and fertility in rice. The OsWUS protein consists of three conserved structural domains, but their biological functions are still unclear. We discovered a new rice mutant resulting from tissue culture, which hardly produced tillers and exhibited complete female sterility. The male and female floral organs of the mutant were morphologically indistinguishable from those of the wild type. We named the mutant srt1 for completely sterile and reduced tillering 1. Map-based cloning revealed that the mutant phenotypes were caused by a mutation in OsWUS. Compared with the two previously reported null allelic mutants of OsWUS (tab1-1andmoc3-1), which could produce partial N-terminal peptides of OsWUS, the srt1 protein contained a deletion of only seven amino acids within the conserved homeobox domain of OsWUS. However, the mutant phenotypes (monoculm and female sterility) displayed in srt1 were as typical and severe as those in tab1-1and moc3-1. This indicates that the homeobox domain of SRT1 is essential for the regulation oftillering and sterility in rice. In addition,srt1 showed an opposite effect on panicle development to that of the two null allelic mutants, implying that the srt1 protein might still have partial or even new functions on panicle development. The results of this study suggest that the homeobox domain is pivotal for OsWUS function.