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Mol Cells. 2019 Oct 31;42(10):711-720. doi: 10.14348/molcells.2019.0109.

The Role of Rice Vacuolar Invertase2 in Seed Size Control.

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Graduate School of Biotechnology and Crop Biotech Institute, Kyung Hee University, Yongin 17104, Korea.
Joint International Research Laboratory of Metabolic and Developmental Sciences, State Key Laboratory of Hybrid Rice, School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China.


Sink strength optimizes sucrose import, which is fundamental to support developing seed grains and increase crop yields, including those of rice (Oryza sativa). In this regard, little is known about the function of vacuolar invertase (VIN) in controlling sink strength and thereby seed size. Here, in rice we analyzed mutants of two VINs, OsVIN1 and OsVIN2, to examine their role during seed development. In a phenotypic analysis of the T-DNA insertion mutants, only the OsVIN2 mutant osvin2-1 exhibited reduced seed size and grain weight. Scanning electron microscopy analysis revealed that the small seed grains of osvin2-1 can be attributed to a reduction in spikelet size. A significant decrease in VIN activity and hexose level in the osvin2-1 spikelets interfered with spikelet growth. In addition, significant reduction in starch and increase in sucrose, which are characteristic features of reduced turnover and flux of sucrose due to impaired sink strength, were evident in the pre-storage stage of osvin2-1 developing grains. In situ hybridization analysis found that expression of OsVIN2 was predominant in the endocarp of developing grains. A genetically complemented line with a native genomic clone of OsVIN2 rescued reduced VIN activity and seed size. Two additional mutants, osvin2-2 and osvin2-3 generated by the CRISPR/Cas9 method, exhibited phenotypes similar to those of osvin2-1 in spikelet and seed size, VIN activity, and sugar metabolites. These results clearly demonstrate an important role of OsVIN2 as sink strength modulator that is critical for the maintenance of sucrose flux into developing seed grains.


rice; seed; sink strength; sucrose flux; vacuolar invertase

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