[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The element boron (B) is an essential plant micronutrient, and B deficiency results in significant crop losses worldwide. The maize (Zea mays) tassel-less1 (tls1) mutant has defects in vegetative and inflorescence development, comparable to the effects of B deficiency. Positional cloning revealed that tls1 encodes a protein in the aquaporin family co-orthologous to known B channel proteins in other species. Transport assays show that the TLS1 protein facilitates the movement of B and water into Xenopus laevis oocytes. B content is reduced in tls1 mutants, and application of B rescues the mutant phenotype, indicating that the TLS1 protein facilitates the movement of B in planta. B is required to cross-link the pectic polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan II (RG-II) in the cell wall, and the percentage of RG-II dimers is reduced in tls1 inflorescences, indicating that the defects may result from altered cell wall properties. Plants heterozygous for both tls1 and rotten ear (rte), the proposed B efflux transporter, exhibit a dosage-dependent defect in inflorescence development under B-limited conditions, indicating that both TLS1 and RTE function in the same biological processes. Together, our data provide evidence that TLS1 is a B transport facilitator in maize, highlighting the importance of B homeostasis in meristem function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hormone signaling plays diverse and critical roles during plant development. In particular, hormone interactions regulate meristem function and therefore control formation of all organs in the plant. Recent advances have dissected commonalities and differences in the interaction of auxin and cytokinin in the regulation of shoot and root apical meristem function. In addition, brassinosteroid hormones have recently been discovered to regulate root apical meristem size. Further insights have also been made into our understanding of the mechanism of crosstalk among auxin, cytokinin, and strigolactone in axillary meristems.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Current opinion in plant biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phytohormone auxin plays critical roles in the regulation of plant growth and development. Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) has been recognized as the major auxin for more than 70 y. Although several pathways have been proposed, how auxin is synthesized in plants is still unclear. Previous genetic and enzymatic studies demonstrated that both TRYPTOPHAN AMINOTRANSFERASE OF ARABIDOPSIS (TAA) and YUCCA (YUC) flavin monooxygenase-like proteins are required for biosynthesis of IAA during plant development, but these enzymes were placed in two independent pathways. In this article, we demonstrate that the TAA family produces indole-3-pyruvic acid (IPA) and the YUC family functions in the conversion of IPA to IAA in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) by a quantification method of IPA using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem MS. We further show that YUC protein expressed in Escherichia coli directly converts IPA to IAA. Indole-3-acetaldehyde is probably not a precursor of IAA in the IPA pathway. Our results indicate that YUC proteins catalyze a rate-limiting step of the IPA pathway, which is the main IAA biosynthesis pathway in Arabidopsis.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Auxin plays a fundamental role in organogenesis in plants. Multiple pathways for auxin biosynthesis have been proposed, but none of the predicted pathways are completely understood. Here, we report the positional cloning and characterization of the vanishing tassel2 (vt2) gene of maize (Zea mays). Phylogenetic analyses indicate that vt2 is a co-ortholog of TRYPTOPHAN AMINOTRANSFERASE OF ARABIDOPSIS1 (TAA1), which converts Trp to indole-3-pyruvic acid in one of four hypothesized Trp-dependent auxin biosynthesis pathways. Unlike single mutations in TAA1, which cause subtle morphological phenotypes in Arabidopsis thaliana, vt2 mutants have dramatic effects on vegetative and reproductive development. vt2 mutants share many similarities with sparse inflorescence1 (spi1) mutants in maize. spi1 is proposed to encode an enzyme in the tryptamine pathway for Trp-dependent auxin biosynthesis, although this biochemical activity has recently been questioned. Surprisingly, spi1 vt2 double mutants had only a slightly more severe phenotype than vt2 single mutants. Furthermore, both spi1 and vt2 single mutants exhibited a reduction in free auxin levels, but the spi1 vt2 double mutants did not have a further reduction compared with vt2 single mutants. Therefore, both spi1 and vt2 function in auxin biosynthesis in maize, possibly in the same pathway rather than independently as previously proposed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plant shoots undergo organogenesis throughout their life cycle via the perpetuation of stem cell pools called shoot apical meristems (SAMs). SAM maintenance requires the coordinated equilibrium between stem cell division and differentiation and is regulated by integrated networks of gene expression, hormonal signaling, and metabolite sensing. Here, we show that the maize (Zea mays) mutant bladekiller1-R (blk1-R) is defective in leaf blade development and meristem maintenance and exhibits a progressive reduction in SAM size that results in premature shoot abortion. Molecular markers for stem cell maintenance and organ initiation reveal that both of these meristematic functions are progressively compromised in blk1-R mutants, especially in the inflorescence and floral meristems. Positional cloning of blk1-R identified a predicted missense mutation in a highly conserved amino acid encoded by thiamine biosynthesis2 (thi2). Consistent with chromosome dosage studies suggesting that blk1-R is a null mutation, biochemical analyses confirm that the wild-type THI2 enzyme copurifies with a thiazole precursor to thiamine, whereas the mutant enzyme does not. Heterologous expression studies confirm that THI2 is targeted to chloroplasts. All blk1-R mutant phenotypes are rescued by exogenous thiamine supplementation, suggesting that blk1-R is a thiamine auxotroph. These results provide insight into the role of metabolic cofactors, such as thiamine, during the proliferation of stem and initial cell populations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Monocots are known to respond differently to auxinic herbicides; hence, certain herbicides kill broadleaf (i.e., dicot) weeds while leaving lawns (i.e., monocot grasses) intact. In addition, the characters that distinguish monocots from dicots involve structures whose development is controlled by auxin. However, the molecular mechanisms controlling auxin biosynthesis, homeostasis, transport, and signal transduction appear, so far, to be conserved between monocots and dicots, although there are differences in gene copy number and expression leading to diversification in function. This article provides an update on the conservation and diversification of the roles of genes controlling auxin biosynthesis, transport, and signal transduction in root, shoot, and reproductive development in rice and maize.
Preview · Article · Mar 2010 · Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The sparse inflorescence1 (spi1), Barren inflorescence1 (Bif1), barren inflorescence2 (bif2), and barren stalk1 (ba1) mutants produce fewer branches and spikelets in the inflorescence due to defects in auxin biosynthesis, transport, or response. We report that spi1, bif1, and ba1, but not bif2, also function in promoting cell elongation in the inflorescence.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polar auxin transport, mediated by the PIN-FORMED (PIN) class of auxin efflux carriers, controls organ initiation in plants.
In maize, BARREN INFLORESCENCE2 (BIF2) encodes a serine/threonine protein kinase co-orthologous to PINOID (PID), which regulates
the subcellular localization of AtPIN1 in Arabidopsis. We show that BIF2 phosphorylates ZmPIN1a, a maize homolog of AtPIN1,
in vitro and regulates ZmPIN1a subcellular localization in vivo, similar to the role of PID in Arabidopsis. In addition, bif2 mutant inflorescences have lower auxin levels later in development. We propose that BIF2 regulates auxin transport through
direct regulation of ZmPIN1a during maize inflorescence development.
No preview · Article · Feb 2009 · Plant and Cell Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Axillary meristems, which give rise to branches and flowers, play a critical role in plant architecture and reproduction. To understand how axillary meristems initiate, we have screened for mutants with defects in axillary meristem initiation to uncover the genes controlling this process. These mutants, called the barren class of mutants in maize (Zea mays), have defects in axillary meristem initiation during both vegetative and reproductive development. Here, we identify and characterize a new member of the barren class of mutants named Developmental disaster1 (Dvd1), due to the pleiotropic effects of the mutation. Similar to the barren mutants, Dvd1 mutants have fewer branches, spikelets, florets, and floral organs in the inflorescence due to defects in the initiation of axillary meristems. Furthermore, double mutant analysis with teosinte branched1 shows that dvd1 also functions in axillary meristems during vegetative development. However, unlike the barren mutants, Dvd1 mutants are semidwarf due to the production of shorter internodes, and they produce leaves in the inflorescence due to the outgrowth of bract leaf primordia. The suite of defects seen in Dvd1 mutants, together with the genetic interaction of Dvd1 with barren inflorescence2, suggests that dvd1 is a novel regulator of axillary meristem and internode development.
Preview · Article · Feb 2009 · American Journal of Botany
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The spikelet, which is a short branch bearing the florets, is the fundamental unit of grass inflorescence architecture. In most grasses, spikelets are borne singly on the inflorescence. However, paired spikelets are characteristic of the Andropogoneae, a tribe of 1,000 species including maize (Zea mays). The Suppressor of sessile spikelets1 (Sos1) mutant of maize produces single instead of paired spikelets in the inflorescence. Therefore, the sos1 gene may have been involved in the evolution of paired spikelets. In this article, we show that Sos1 is a semidominant, antimorph mutation. Sos1 mutants have fewer branches and spikelets for two reasons: (1) fewer spikelet pair meristems are produced due to defects in inflorescence meristem size and (2) the spikelet pair meristems that are produced make one instead of two spikelet meristems. The interaction of Sos1 with the ramosa mutants, which produce more branches and spikelets, was investigated. The results show that Sos1 has an epistatic interaction with ramosa1 (ra1), a synergistic interaction with ra2, and an additive interaction with ra3. Moreover, ra1 mRNA levels are reduced in Sos1 mutants, while ra2 and ra3 mRNA levels are unaffected. Based on these genetic and expression studies, we propose that sos1 functions in the ra1 branch of the ramosa pathway controlling meristem determinacy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Grass inflorescences produce the grain that feeds the world. Compared to eudicots such as Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), grasses have a complex inflorescence morphology that can be explained by differences in the activity of axillary meristems. Advances in genomics, such as the completion of the rice (Oryza sativa) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) genomes and the recent release of a draft sequence of the maize (Zea mays) genome, have greatly facilitated research in grasses. Here, we review recent progress in the understanding of the genetic regulation of grass inflorescence development, with a focus on maize and rice. An exciting theme is the key role of plant growth hormones in inflorescence development.
No preview · Article · Dec 2008 · Trends in Plant Science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The plant growth hormone auxin plays a critical role in the initiation of lateral organs and meristems. Here, we identify and characterize a mutant, sparse inflorescence1 (spi1), which has defects in the initiation of axillary meristems and lateral organs during vegetative and inflorescence development in maize. Positional cloning shows that spi1 encodes a flavin monooxygenase similar to the YUCCA (YUC) genes of Arabidopsis, which are involved in local auxin biosynthesis in various plant tissues. In Arabidopsis, loss of function of single members of the YUC family has no obvious effect, but in maize the mutation of a single yuc locus causes severe developmental defects. Phylogenetic analysis of the different members of the YUC family in moss, monocot, and eudicot species shows that there have been independent expansions of the family in monocots and eudicots. spi1 belongs to a monocot-specific clade, within which the role of individual YUC genes has diversified. These observations, together with expression and functional data, suggest that spi1 has evolved a dominant role in auxin biosynthesis that is essential for normal maize inflorescence development. Analysis of the interaction between spi1 and genes regulating auxin transport indicate that auxin transport and biosynthesis function synergistically to regulate the formation of axillary meristems and lateral organs in maize.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2008 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Organogenesis in plants is controlled by polar auxin transport. In maize (Zea mays), barren inflorescence2 (bif2) encodes a co-ortholog of the serine/threonine protein kinase PINOID (PID), which regulates auxin transport in Arabidopsis. In this paper, we report that the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor BARREN STALK1 (BA1) is a putative target of BIF2, revealing a previously unknown function of BIF2 in the nucleus. Both bif2 and ba1 are required for axillary meristem initiation during inflorescence and vegetative development in maize. Using a yeast two-hybrid approach, we identified BA1 as an interacting partner with BIF2. We confirmed the interaction by in vitro pull-down assays, and demonstrated that BIF2 phosphorylates BA1 in vitro. Previously, RNA in situ hybridization showed that bif2 and ba1 are both expressed during axillary meristem initiation. Here, we heterologously expressed BIF2 and BA1, and found that they co-localize in the nucleus. Based on these findings, we propose that in addition to regulating auxin transport at the cell periphery, BIF2 also functions in the nucleus by interacting with BA1 to promote axillary meristem initiation. Double mutant analysis is consistent with these results, showing that bif2 and ba1 have overlapping as well as unique roles in inflorescence development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maize (Zea mays) has a highly branched inflorescence due to the production of different types of axillary meristems. Characterization of the barren inflorescence class of mutants has led to the discovery of genes required for axillary meristem initiation in the inflorescence. Previous studies showed that barren inflorescence2 (bif2) encodes a serine/threonine protein kinase that regulates auxin transport, and barren stalk1 (ba1) encodes a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor that acts downstream of auxin transport. Here, we characterize Barren inflorescence1 (Bif1), a classical semidominant mutation of maize. Developmental, histological, and genetic analyses show that Bif1 mutants are defective in the initiation of all axillary meristems in the inflorescence. Real time RT-PCR experiments show that both bif2 and ba1 are expressed at lower levels in Bif1 mutants. Double-mutant analyses demonstrate that Bif1 exhibits an epistatic interaction with ba1 and a synergistic interaction with bif2. The dramatic phenotypic enhancement observed in Bif1; bif2 double mutants implies that bif1 plays an overlapping role with bif2 in the initiation of lateral organs during vegetative development. The phenotypic resemblance of Bif1 to bif2 mutants and the reduction of auxin transport in Bif1 mutants suggest that bif1 functions as a regulator of auxin transport in maize.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plant hormones are key regulators of plant growth and development. Great progress in understanding hormone biosynthesis, metabolism, transport, and signal transduction was reported at this meeting. All of the classic hormones including auxin, cytokinin (CK), brassinolide (BL), gibberellin (GA), ethylene, abscisic acid (ABA), jasmonate (JA), and salicylic acid (SA) were discussed, in addition to novel signaling molecules such as nitric oxide (NO), glucose, and the “branching hormone” produced by the MAX pathway. Now that almost all of the plant hormone receptors have been identified, it has become evident that common strategies are used to transmit different hormonal signals, although each hormone has its own unique way of exacting its regulatory effects. In this report, we highlight the key discoveries in the area of plant hormones and signaling reported at this meeting.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Axillary meristems play a fundamental role in inflorescence architecture. Maize (Zea mays) inflorescences are highly branched panicles because of the production of multiple types of axillary meristems. We used auxin transport inhibitors to show that auxin transport is required for axillary meristem initiation in the maize inflorescence. The phenotype of plants treated with auxin transport inhibitors is very similar to that of barren inflorescence2 (bif2) and barren stalk1 (ba1) mutants, suggesting that these genes function in the same auxin transport pathway. To dissect this pathway, we performed RNA in situ hybridization on plants treated with auxin transport inhibitors. We determined that bif2 is expressed upstream and that ba1 is expressed downstream of auxin transport, enabling us to integrate the genetic and hormonal control of axillary meristem initiation. In addition, treatment of maize inflorescences with auxin transport inhibitors later in development results in the production of single instead of paired spikelets. Paired spikelets are a key feature of the Andropogoneae, a group of over 1000 grasses that includes maize, sorghum, and sugarcane. Because all other grasses bear spikelets singly, these results implicate auxin transport in the evolution of inflorescence architecture. Furthermore, our results provide insight into mechanisms of inflorescence branching that are relevant to all plants.
Preview · Article · Nov 2007 · American Journal of Botany
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Organogenesis in plants is controlled by meristems. Axillary meristems, which give rise to branches and flowers, play a critical role in plant architecture and reproduction. Maize (Zea mays) and rice (Oryza sativa) have additional types of axillary meristems in the inflorescence compared to Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and thus provide an excellent model system to study axillary meristem initiation. Previously, we characterized the barren inflorescence2 (bif2) mutant in maize and showed that bif2 plays a key role in axillary meristem and lateral primordia initiation in the inflorescence. In this article, we cloned bif2 by transposon tagging. Isolation of bif2-like genes from seven other grasses, along with phylogenetic analysis, showed that bif2 is a co-ortholog of PINOID (PID), which regulates auxin transport in Arabidopsis. Expression analysis showed that bif2 is expressed in all axillary meristems and lateral primordia during inflorescence and vegetative development in maize and rice. Further phenotypic analysis of bif2 mutants in maize illustrates additional roles of bif2 during vegetative development. We propose that bif2/PID sequence and expression are conserved between grasses and Arabidopsis, attesting to the important role they play in development. We provide further support that bif2, and by analogy PID, is required for initiation of both axillary meristems and lateral primordia.