The development of a plastic root system is essential for stable crop production under variable environments. Rice plants have two types of lateral roots (LRs): S-type (short and thin) and L-type (long, thick, and capable of further branching). LR types are determined at the primordium stage, with a larger primordium size in L-types than S-types. Despite the importance of LR types for rice adaptability to variable water conditions, molecular mechanisms underlying the primordium size control of LRs are unknown. Here, we show that two WUSCHEL-related homeobox (WOX) genes have opposing roles in controlling LR primordium (LRP) size in rice. Root tip excision on seminal roots induced L-type LR formation with wider primordia formed from an early developmental stage. QHB/OsWOX5 was isolated as a causative gene of a mutant that is defective in S-type LR formation but produces more L-type LRs than wild-type (WT) plants following root tip excision. A transcriptome analysis revealed that OsWOX10 is highly up-regulated in L-type LRPs. OsWOX10 overexpression in LRPs increased the LR diameter in an expression-dependent manner. Conversely, the mutation in OsWOX10 decreased the L-type LR diameter under mild drought conditions. The qhb mutants had higher OsWOX10 expression than WT after root tip excision. A yeast one-hybrid assay revealed that the transcriptional repressive activity of QHB was lost in qhb mutants. An electrophoresis mobility shift assay revealed that OsWOX10 is a potential target of QHB. These data suggest that QHB represses LR diameter increase, repressing OsWOX10 Our findings could help improve root system plasticity under variable environments.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 4 Jan 2022|