The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology

ABERRANT PANICLE ORGANIZATION 2/RFL, the rice ortholog of Arabidopsis LEAFY, suppresses the transition from inflorescence meristem to floral meristem through interaction with APO1.

PMID 21910771


The temporal and spatial control of meristem identity is a key element in plant development. To better understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate inflorescence and flower architecture, we characterized the rice aberrant panicle organization 2 (apo2) mutant which exhibits small panicles with reduced number of primary branches due to the precocious formation of spikelet meristems. The apo2 mutants also display a shortened plastochron in the vegetative phase, late flowering, aberrant floral organ identities and loss of floral meristem determinacy. Map-based cloning revealed that APO2 is identical to previously reported RFL gene, the rice ortholog of the Arabidopsis LEAFY (LFY) gene. Further analysis indicated that APO2/RFL and APO1, the rice ortholog of Arabidopsis UNUSUAL FLORAL ORGANS, act cooperatively to control inflorescence and flower development. The present study revealed functional differences between APO2/RFL and LFY. In particular, APO2/RFL and LFY act oppositely on inflorescence development. Therefore, the genetic mechanisms for controlling inflorescence architecture have evolutionarily diverged between rice (monocots) and Arabidopsis (eudicots).

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