Transcriptional Corepressor ASP1 and CLV-Like Signaling Regulate Meristem Maintenance in Rice.


Department of Biological Sciences, School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8654, Japan [Email]


Stem cell homeostasis is maintained by the WUSCHEL-CLAVATA (WUS-CLV) negative feedback loop in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). In rice (Oryza sativa), FLORAL ORGAN NUMBER2 (FON2) functions in the negative regulation of stem cell proliferation, similar to Arabidopsis CLV3 In this study, through genetic enhancer analysis, we found that loss of function of ABERRANT SPIKELET AND PANICLE1 (ASP1), encoding an Arabidopsis TOPLESS (TPL)-like transcriptional corepressor, enhances the fon2 flower phenotype, which displayed an increase in floral organ number. In the fon2 asp1 double mutant, the inflorescence was severely affected, resulting in bifurcation of the main axis (rachis), a phenotype that has not previously been reported. The stem cells showed marked overproliferation in fon2 asp1, resulting in extreme enlargement and splitting of the inflorescence meristem. These results suggest that ASP1 and FON2 synergistically regulate stem cell maintenance in rice. Unexpectedly, genetic analysis indicated that TILLERS ABSENT1, the rice ortholog of WUS, is not involved in promoting stem cell proliferation in this meristem. Transcriptome analysis suggested that ASP1 and FON signaling negatively regulate a set of genes with similar functions, and they act on these genes in concert. Taken together, our results suggest that TPL-like corepressor activity plays a crucial role in meristem maintenance, and that stem cell proliferation is properly maintained via the cooperation of ASP1 and FON2.