The gene FLORAL ORGAN NUMBER1 regulates floral meristem size in rice and encodes a leucine-rich repeat receptor kinase orthologous to Arabidopsis CLAVATA1

Takuya Suzaki, Makoto Sato, Motoyuki Ashikari, Masahiro Miyoshi, Yasuo Nagato, Hiro-Yuki Hirano
Development 2004, 131 (22): 5649-57
The regulation of floral organ number is closely associated with floral meristem size. Mutations in the gene FLORAL ORGAN NUMBER1 (FON1) cause enlargement of the floral meristem in Oryza sativa (rice), resulting in an increase in the number of all floral organs. Ectopic floral organs develop in the whorl of each organ and/or in the additional whorls that form. Inner floral organs are more severely affected than outer floral organs. Many carpel primordia develop indeterminately, and undifferentiated meristematic tissues remain in the center in almost-mature flowers. Consistent with this result, OSH1, a molecular marker of meristematic indeterminate cells in rice, continues to be expressed in this region. Although floral meristems are strongly affected by the fon1-2 mutation, vegetative and inflorescence meristems are largely normal, even in this strong allele. We isolated the FON1 gene by positional cloning and found that it encodes a leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase most similar to CLAVATA1 (CLV1) in Arabidopsis thaliana. This suggests that a pathway similar to the CLV signaling system that regulates meristem maintenance in Arabidopsis is conserved in the grass family. Unlike CLV1, which is predominantly expressed in the L3 layer of the shoot meristem, FON1 is expressed throughout the whole floral meristem, suggesting that small modifications to the CLV signaling pathway may be required to maintain the floral meristem in rice. In addition, FON1 transcripts are detected in all meristems responsible for development of the aerial part of rice, suggesting that genes sharing functional redundancy with FON1 act in the vegetative and inflorescence meristems to mask the effects of the fon1 mutation.

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