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Overexpression of OsbHLH107, a member of the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor family, enhances grain size in rice (Oryza sativa L.)

Yang, Xiaoming, Ren, Yulong, Cai, Yue, Niu, Mei, Feng, Zhiming, Jing, Ruonan, Mou, Changling, Liu, Xi, Xiao, Lianjie, Zhang, Xin, Wu, Fuqing, Guo, Xiuping, Jiang, Ling, Wan, Jianmin
Rice 2018 v.11 no.1 pp. 41
Oryza sativa, basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors, cell cycle, gene overexpression, genes, grain yield, histology, hulls, mutants, panicles, phenotype, phylogeny, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, rice, spikelets, transcriptional activation, transfer DNA, transgenic plants
BACKGROUND: Grain size, which is determined by grain length, grain width, and grain thickness, is an important determinant for grain yield in rice. Identification and characterization of new genes that are associated with grain size will be helpful for the improvement of grain yield in rice. RESULTS: We characterized the grain size mutant, larger grain size 1 (lgs1), derived from rice activation-tagged T-DNA insertion lines. Histological analysis showed that increased cell numbers in the longitudinal direction of spikelet hulls was responsible for the grain mutant phenotype in lgs1. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis further showed that the expression levels of genes associated with the cell cycle in the young panicles of the lgs1 were higher than those in the wild type (WT), which might result in the increased cell numbers in lgs1 spikelet hulls. Insertion site analysis together with transgenic experiments confirmed that the lgs1 phenotype was caused by enhanced expression of truncated OsbHLH107, corresponding to the nucleotide (nt) 331–846 region (i.e., the transcriptional activation region of OsbHLH107) of the OsbHLH107 coding sequence (CDS). OsbHLH107 is a nucleus-localized bHLH transcription factor, which can form a homodimer with itself. Phylogenetic analysis showed that OsbHLH107 belonged to the same subfamily as OsPILs. OsPIL13 (OsPIL1) and OsPIL16 (APG) were reported to regulate grain size in rice. By transgenic experiments, we found that OsPIL11 could also regulate grain size. CONCLUSION: We concluded that OsbHLH107 and its homologs are important regulators of grain size development and might be useful for grain yield improvement in rice.