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Keywords:

  • Oryzasativa L.;
  • dwarf and deformed flower 1 ;
  • F-box;
  • vegetative growth;
  • floral organ development

Summary

Recent studies have shown that F-box proteins constitute a large family in eukaryotes, and play pivotal roles in regulating various developmental processes in plants. However, their functions in monocots are still obscure. In this study, we characterized a recessive mutant dwarf and deformed flower 1-1 (ddf1-1) in Oryza sativa (rice). The mutant is abnormal in both vegetative and reproductive development, with significant size reduction in all organs except the spikelet. DDF1 controls organ size by regulating both cell division and cell expansion. In the ddf1-1 spikelet, the specification of floral organs in whorls 2 and 3 is altered, with most lodicules and stamens being transformed into glume-like organs and pistil-like organs, respectively, but the specification of lemma/palea and pistil in whorls 1 and 4 is not affected. DDF1 encodes an F-box protein anchored in the nucleolus, and is expressed in almost all vegetative and reproductive tissues. Consistent with the mutant floral phenotype, DDF1 positively regulates B-class genes OsMADS4 and OsMADS16, and negatively regulates pistil specification gene DL. In addition, DDF1 also negatively regulates the Arabidopsis LFY ortholog APO2, implying a functional connection between DDF1 and APO2. Collectively, these results revealed that DDF1, as a newly identified F-box gene, is a crucial genetic factor with pleiotropic functions for both vegetative growth and floral organ specification in rice. These findings provide additional insights into the molecular mechanism controlling monocot vegetative and reproductive development.