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Plant Biotechnol J. 2009 Oct;7(8):791-806. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7652.2009.00444.x.

Engineering OsBAK1 gene as a molecular tool to improve rice architecture for high yield.

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Research Center for Molecular & Developmental Biology, Key Laboratory of Photosynthesis and Environmental Molecular Physiology, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


Generating a new variety of plant with erect-leaf is a critical strategy to improve rice grain yield, as plants with this trait can be dense-planted. The erect-leaf is a significant morphological trait partially regulated by Brassinosteroids (BRs) in rice plants. So far, only a few genes can be used for molecular breeding in rice. Here, we identified OsBAK1 as a potential gene to alter rice architecture. Based on rice genome sequences, four closely related homologs of Arabidopsis BAK1 (AtBAK1) gene were amplified. Phylogenetic analysis and suppression of a weak Arabidopsis mutant bri1-5 indicated that OsBAK1 (Os08g0174700) is the closest relative of AtBAK1. Genetic, physiological, and biochemical analyses all suggest that the function of OsBAK1 is conserved with AtBAK1. Overexpression of a truncated intracellular domain of OsBAK1, but not the extracellular domain of OsBAK1, resulted in a dwarfed phenotype, similar to the rice BR-insensitive mutant plants. The expression of OsBAK1 changed important agricultural traits of rice such as plant height, leaf erectness, grain morphologic features, and disease resistance responses. Our results suggested that a new rice variety with erect-leaf and normal reproduction can be generated simply by suppressing the expression level of OsBAK1. Therefore, OsBAK1 is a potential molecular breeding tool for improving rice grain yield by modifying rice architecture.

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