GIF1 controls ear inflorescence architecture and floral development byregulating key genes in hormone biosynthesis and meristem determinacy inmaize.

Li Manfei et al.

BACKGROUND: Inflorescence architecture and floral development in flowering plants are determined by genetic control of meristem identity, determinacy, and maintenance. The ear inflorescence meristem in maize (Zea mays) initiates short branch meristems called spikelet pair meristems, thus unlike the tassel inflorescence, the ears lack long branches. Maize growth-regulating factor (GRF)-interacting factor1 (GIF1) regulates branching and size of meristems in the tassel inflorescence by binding to Unbranched3. However, the regulatory pathway of gif1 in ear meristems is relatively unknown. RESULT: In this study, we found that loss-of-function gif1 mutants had highly branched ears, and these extra branches repeatedly produce more branches and florets with unfused carpels and an indeterminate floral apex. In addition, GIF1 interacted in vivo with nine GRFs, subunits of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex, and hormone biosynthesis-related proteins. Furthermore, key meristem-determinacy gene RAMOSA2 (RA2) and CLAVATA signaling-related gene CLV3/ENDOSPERM SURROUNDING REGION (ESR) 4a (CLE4a) were directly bound and regulated by GIF1 in the ear inflorescence. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that GIF1 working together with GRFs recruits SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling ATPases to influence DNA accessibility in the regions that contain genes involved in hormone biosynthesis, meristem identity and determinacy, thus driving the fate of axillary meristems and floral organ primordia in the ear-inflorescence of maize.

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March, 2022


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