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Plant Cell Physiol. 2013 Feb;54(2):209-17. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcs169. Epub 2012 Dec 6.

ONION2 fatty acid elongase is required for shoot development in rice.

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Plant Genetics Laboratory, National Institute of Genetics, 1111 Yata, Mishima, Shizuoka-ken, Japan.


A plant's surface is covered with epicuticular wax, which protects plants from inappropriate environmental conditions such as drought and pathogen attack. Very-long-chain fatty acids (VLCFAs) are the main component of epicuticular wax on the surface of above-ground organs. Here we show that a fatty acid elongase catalyzing an elongation reaction of VLCFAs is required for shoot development in rice. onion2 (oni2) mutants produced very small shoots in which leaves were fused to each other, and ceased growing after germination. The midrib of oni2 leaf blades was not developed correctly. Molecular cloning showed that ONI2 encodes a fatty acid elongase, which catalyzes the first step of elongation reactions of a carbon chain of VLCFAs, and oni2 had a reduced amount of VLCFAs. Expression analysis showed that ONI2 is specifically expressed in the outermost cell layer of young lateral organs. These results suggest that ONI2 is a layer 1-specific gene required for development of the entire shoot and that VLCFAs play an essential role in normal shoot development in rice.

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