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The meristem initiates lateral organs in a regular manner, and proper communication between the meristem and the lateral organs ensures the normal development of plants. Here, we show that mutation of the rice (Oryza sativa) gene TONGARI-BOUSHI1 (TOB1) results in pleiotropic phenotypes in spikelets, such as the formation of a cone-shaped organ instead of the lemma or palea, the development of two florets in a spikelet, or premature termination of the floret meristem, in addition to reduced growth of the lemma or palea and elongation of the awn. These phenotypes seem to result from not only failure in growth of the lateral organs, but also defects in maintenance and organization of the meristem. For example, the cone-shaped organ develops as a ring-like primordium from an initial stage, suggesting that regulation of organ initiation in the meristem may be compromised. TOB1 encodes a YABBY protein, which is closely related to FILAMENTOUS FLOWER in Arabidopsis thaliana, and is expressed in the lateral organ primordia without any patterns of polarization. No TOB1 expression is detected in the meristem, so TOB1 may act non-cell autonomously to maintain proper meristem organization and is therefore likely to play an important role in rice spikelet development.


Wakana Tanaka, Taiyo Toriba, Yoshihiro Ohmori, Akiko Yoshida, Arata Kawai, Tomoko Mayama-Tsuchida, Hiroaki Ichikawa, Nobutaka Mitsuda, Masaru Ohme-Takagi, Hiro-Yuki Hirano. The YABBY gene TONGARI-BOUSHI1 is involved in lateral organ development and maintenance of meristem organization in the rice spikelet. The Plant cell. 2012 Jan;24(1):80-95

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PMID: 22286138

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