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Plant J. 2011 Jan;65(1):77-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04404.x. Epub 2010 Nov 29.

Temporal and spatial regulation of DROOPING LEAF gene expression that promotes midrib formation in rice.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8654, JapanNational Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Kannondai, Tsukuba 305-8602, Japan.


Genes involved in the differentiation and development of tissues and organs are temporally and spatially regulated in plant development. The DROOPING LEAF (DL) gene, a member of the YABBY gene family, promotes midrib formation in the leaf and carpel specification in the flower. Consistent with these functions, DL is initially expressed in the central region of the leaf primordia (presumptive midrib) and in the presumptive carpel primordia in the meristem. To understand the regulatory mechanism underlying DL expression, we tried to identify cis-regulatory regions required for temporal and spatial expression of this gene. We found that the cis region responsible for the presumptive midrib-specific expression in the leaf primordia is located in intron 2. Next, we confined the region to a sequence of about 200bp, which corresponds to a conserved non-coding sequence (CNS) identified by phylogenetic footprinting. In addition, a sequence termed DG1, incorporating a 5' upstream region of about 7.4kb, and introns 1 and 2, was shown to be sufficient to induce DL in the presumptive midrib, and to suppress it in other regions in the leaf primordia. By contrast, the regulatory region required for carpel-specific expression was not included in the DG1 sequence. We modified Oryza sativa (rice) plant architecture by expressing an activated version of DL (DL-VP16) in a precise manner using the DG1 sequence: the resulting transgenic plant produced a midrib in the distal region of the leaf blade, where there is no midrib in wild type, and formed more upright leaves compared with the wild type.

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