LATERAL FLORET 1 induced the three-florets spikelet in rice [Plant Biology]
The spikelet is a unique inflorescence structure in grass. The molecular mechanisms behind the development and evolution of the spikelet are far from clear. In this study, a dominant rice mutant, lateral florets 1 (lf1), was characterized. In the lf1 spikelet, lateral floral meristems were promoted unexpectedly and could generally blossom into relatively normal florets. LF1 encoded a class III homeodomain-leucine zipper (HD-ZIP III) protein, and the site of mutation in lf1 was located in a putative miRNA165/166 target sequence. Ectopic expression of both LF1 and the meristem maintenance gene OSH1 was detected in the axil of the sterile lemma primordia of the lf1 spikelet. Furthermore, the promoter of OSH1 could be bound directly by LF1 protein. Collectively, these results indicate that the mutation of LF1 induces ectopic expression of OSH1, which results in the initiation of lateral meristems to generate lateral florets in the axil of the sterile lemma. This study thus offers strong evidence in support of the “three-florets spikelet” hypothesis in rice.
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