FRIZZY PANICLE is required to prevent the formation of axillary meristems and to establish floral meristem identity in rice spikelets

Mai Komatsu, Atsushi Chujo, Yasuo Nagato, Ko Shimamoto, Junko Kyozuka
Development 2003, 130 (16): 3841-50
Inflorescences of grass species have a distinct morphology in which florets are grouped in compact branches called spikelets. Although many studies have shown that the molecular and genetic mechanisms that control floret organ formation are conserved between monocots and dicots, little is known about the genetic pathway leading to spikelet formation. In the frizzy panicle (fzp) mutant of rice, the formation of florets is replaced by sequential rounds of branching. Detailed analyses revealed that several rudimentary glumes are formed in each ectopic branch, indicating that meristems acquire spikelet identity. However, instead of proceeding to floret formation, axillary meristems are formed in the axils of rudimentary glumes and they either arrest or develop into branches of higher order. The fzp mutant phenotype suggests that FZP is required to prevent the formation of axillary meristems within the spikelet meristem and permit the subsequent establishment of floral meristem identity. The FZP gene was isolated by transposon tagging. FZP encodes an ERF transcription factor and is the rice ortholog of the maize BD1 gene. Consistent with observations from phenotypic analyses, FZP expression was found to be restricted to the time of rudimentary glumes differentiation in a half-ring domain at the base of which the rudimentary glume primordium emerged.

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