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Rice DECUSSATE controls phyllotaxy by affecting the cytokinin signaling pathway

Itoh, Jun‐ichi, Hibara, Ken‐ichiro, Kojima, Mikiko, Sakakibara, Hitoshi, Nagato, Yasuo
The plant journal 2012 v.72 no.6 pp. 869-881
animals, apical meristems, cell division, cytokinins, fungi, gene expression regulation, leaves, molecular cloning, mutants, phenotype, phyllotaxy, regulator genes, rice, root meristems, seedlings, signal transduction
Phyllotaxy is defined as the spatial arrangement of leaves on the stem. The mechanism responsible for this extremely regular pattern is one of the most fascinating enigmas in plant biology. In this study, we identified a gene regulating the phyllotactic pattern in rice. Loss‐of‐function mutants of the DECUSSATE (DEC) gene displayed a phyllotactic conversion from normal distichous pattern to decussate. The dec mutants had an enlarged shoot apical meristem with enhanced cell division activity. In contrast to the shoot apical meristem, the size of the root apical meristem in the dec mutants was reduced, and cell division activity was suppressed. These phenotypes indicate that DEC has opposite functions in the shoot apical meristem and root apical meristem. Map‐based cloning revealed that DEC encodes a plant‐specific protein containing a glutamine‐rich region and a conserved motif. Although its molecular function is unclear, the conserved domain is shared with fungi and animals. Expression analysis showed that several type A response regulator genes that act in the cytokinin signaling pathway were down‐regulated in the dec mutant. In addition, dec seedlings showed a reduced responsiveness to exogenous cytokinin. Our results suggest that DEC controls the phyllotactic pattern by affecting cytokinin signaling in rice.