- In order to understand the molecular genetic mechanisms of rice (Oryza sativa) organ development, we studied the narrow leaf2 narrow leaf3 (nal2 nal3; hereafter nal2/3) double mutant, which produces narrow-curly leaves, more tillers, fewer lateral roots, opened spikelets and narrow-thin grains.
- We found that narrow-curly leaves resulted mainly from reduced lateral-axis outgrowth with fewer longitudinal veins and more, larger bulliform cells. Opened spikelets, possibly caused by marginal deformity in the lemma, gave rise to narrow-thin grains.
- Map-based cloning revealed that NAL2 and NAL3 are paralogs that encode an identical OsWOX3A (OsNS) transcriptional activator, homologous to NARROW SHEATH1 (NS1) and NS2 in maize and PRESSED FLOWER in Arabidopsis. OsWOX3A is expressed in the vascular tissues of various organs, where nal2/3 mutant phenotypes were displayed. Expression levels of several leaf development-associated genes were altered in nal2/3, and auxin transport-related genes were significantly changed, leading to pin mutant-like phenotypes such as more tillers and fewer lateral roots.
- OsWOX3A is involved in organ development in rice, lateral-axis outgrowth and vascular patterning in leaves, lemma and palea morphogenesis in spikelets, and development of tillers and lateral roots.