Journal of experimental botany

Interactions between FLORAL ORGAN NUMBER4 and floral homeotic genes in regulating rice flower development.

PMID 28204535


The floral meristem (FM) is self-maintaining at the early stages of flower development, but it is terminated when a fixed number of floral organs are produced. The FLORAL ORGAN NUMBER4 (FON4; also known as FON2) gene, an ortholog of Arabidopsis CLAVATA3 (CLV3), is required for regulating FM size and determinacy in rice. However, its interactions with floral homeotic genes remain unknown. Here, we report the genetic interactions between FON4 and floral homeotic genes OsMADS15 (an A-class gene), OsMADS16 (also called SUPERWOMAN1, SPW1, a B-class gene), OsMADS3 and OsMADS58 (C-class genes), OsMADS13 (a D-class gene), and OsMADS1 (an E-class gene) during flower development. We observed an additive phenotype in the fon4 double mutant with the OsMADS15 mutant allele dep (degenerative palea). The effect on the organ number of whorl 2 was enhanced in fon4 spw1. Double mutant combinations of fon4 with osmads3, osmads58, osmads13, and osmads1 displayed enhanced defects in FM determinacy and identity, respectively, indicating that FON4 and these genes synergistically control FM activity. In addition, the expression patterns of all the genes besides OsMADS13 had no obvious change in the fon4 mutant. This work reveals how the meristem maintenance gene FON4 genetically interacts with C, D, and E floral homeotic genes in specifying FM activity in monocot rice.