The tillering phenotype of the rice plastid terminal oxidase (PTOX) loss-of-function mutant is associated with strigolactone deficiency



  • The significance of plastid terminal oxidase (PTOX) in phytoene desaturation and chloroplast function has been demonstrated using PTOX-deficient mutants, particularly in Arabidopsis. However, studies on its role in monocots are lacking. Here, we report cloning and characterization of the rice (Oryza sativa) PTOX1 gene.
  • Using Ecotype Targeting Induced Local Lesions IN Genomes (EcoTILLING) and TILLING as forward genetic tools, we identified the causative mutation of an EMS mutant characterized by excessive tillering, semi-dwarfism and leaf variegation that corresponded to the PTOX1 gene.
  • The tillering and semi-dwarf phenotypes of the ptox1 mutant are similar to phenotypes of known strigolactone (SL)-related rice mutants, and both phenotypic traits could be rescued by application of the synthetic SL GR24. The ptox1 mutant accumulated phytoene in white leaf sectors with a corresponding deficiency in β-carotene, consistent with the expected function of PTOX1 in promoting phytoene desaturase activity. There was also no accumulation of the carotenoid-derived SL ent-2′-epi-5-deoxystrigol in root exudates. Elevated concentrations of auxin were detected in the mutant, supporting previous observations that SL interaction with auxin is important in shoot branching control.
  • Our results demonstrate that PTOX1 is required for both carotenoid and SL synthesis resulting in SL-deficient phenotypes in rice.