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Plant Cell. 2006 Mar;18(3):612-25. Epub 2006 Feb 3.

PLASTOCHRON2 regulates leaf initiation and maturation in rice.

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  • 1Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan.


In higher plants, leaves initiate in constant spatial and temporal patterns. Although the pattern of leaf initiation is a key element of plant shoot architecture, little is known about how the time interval between initiation events, termed plastochron, is regulated. Here, we present a detailed analysis of plastochron2 (pla2), a rice (Oryza sativa) mutant that exhibits shortened plastochron and precocious maturation of leaves during the vegetative phase and ectopic shoot formation during the reproductive phase. The corresponding PLA2 gene is revealed to be an orthologue of terminal ear1, a maize (Zea mays) gene that encodes a MEI2-like RNA binding protein. PLA2 is expressed predominantly in young leaf primordia. We show that PLA2 normally acts to retard the rate of leaf maturation but does so independently of PLA1, which encodes a member of the P450 family. Based on these analyses, we propose a model in which plastochron is determined by signals from immature leaves that act non-cell-autonomously in the shoot apical meristem to inhibit the initiation of new leaves.

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