The architecture of rice is greatly influenced by the growth of tillers, i.e. vegetative shoot branches. OsSPL14, a member of the SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE (SPL) genes, and strigolactones (SLs) are known to suppress outgrowth of tiller buds. OsSPL14 also regulates panicle development. We show that OsSPL14 mRNA accumulates in leaf primordia during the vegetative phase and in the primordia of bracts, or modified leaves, in the panicles, but not in the meristems. OsSPL14 is a target of miR156, and accumulation of OsSPL14 transcripts is negatively regulated by miR156. The enhancement of the expression level of OsSPL14 by the introduction of the mOsSPL14 gene, in which the miR156 cleavage site is mutated, resulted in an increase in the plastochron, an acceleration of flowering and a decrease in tiller number in the wild type and in dwarf10-2, an SL-deficient mutant. Our analysis suggests that OsSPL14 and SLs function in parallel pathways to suppress tiller growth. SLs exuded from roots trigger germination of root parasitic plants that can cause severe damage to crop productivity. SL-deficient mutants, however, exhibit an excess branching phenotype which is usually undesirable for productivity. Our results indicate that OsSPL14 can be used to manipulate the branching patterns of SL-deficient mutants. We also confirmed that this strategy is applicable to Arabidopsis. A greater understanding of the OsSPL14 and SL pathways and their interactions may help in the production of root parasite-resistant crops.
- SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE (SPL)
- Strigolactone (SL)