Overexpression of OsRAA1 causes pleiotropic phenotypes in transgenic rice plants, including altered leaf, flower, and root development and root response to gravity

Lei Ge, Hui Chen, Jia-Fu Jiang, Yuan Zhao, Ming-Li Xu, Yun-Yuan Xu, Ke-hui Tan, Zhi-Hong Xu, Kang Chong
Plant Physiology 2004, 135 (3): 1502-13
There are very few root genes that have been described in rice as a monocotyledonous model plant so far. Here, the OsRAA1 (Oryza sativa Root Architecture Associated 1) gene has been characterized molecularly. OsRAA1 encodes a 12.0-kD protein that has 58% homology to the AtFPF1 (Flowering Promoting Factor 1) in Arabidopsis, which has not been reported as modulating root development yet. Data of in situ hybridization and OsRAA1::GUS transgenic plant showed that OsRAA1 expressed specifically in the apical meristem, the elongation zone of root tip, steles of the branch zone, and the young lateral root. Constitutive expression of OsRAA1 under the control of maize (Zea mays) ubiquitin promoter resulted in phenotypes of reduced growth of primary root, increased number of adventitious roots and helix primary root, and delayed gravitropic response of roots in seedlings of rice (Oryza sativa), which are similar to the phenotypes of the wild-type plant treated with auxin. With overexpression of OsRAA1, initiation and growth of adventitious root were more sensitive to treatment of auxin than those of the control plants, while their responses to 9-hydroxyfluorene-9-carboxylic acid in both transgenic line and wild type showed similar results. OsRAA1 constitutive expression also caused longer leaves and sterile florets at the last stage of plant development. Analysis of northern blot and GUS activity staining of OsRAA1::GUS transgenic plants demonstrated that the OsRAA1 expression was induced by auxin. At the same time, overexpression of OsRAA1 also caused endogenous indole-3-acetic acid to increase. These data suggested that OsRAA1 as a new gene functions in the development of rice root systems, which are mediated by auxin. A positive feedback regulation mechanism of OsRAA1 to indole-3-acetic acid metabolism may be involved in rice root development in nature.

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