A G-protein pathway determines grain size in rice

Journal: Nature Communications

Published: 2018-02-27

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03141-y

Affiliations: 2

Authors: 8

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Research Highlight

New tools to tune rice grain size

© Yevgen Romanenko/Getty

© Yevgen Romanenko/Getty

The genetic pathway that controls the size of rice grains has been identified. By adjusting the components of the pathway individually or in combinations, researchers can predictably manipulate rice grain size and thus increase yield.

Rice grain size is influenced by G proteins, which are made up of Gα, Gβ and Gγ subunits. To determine how they affect grain size, a team at China’s Huazhong Agricultural University expressed the genes encoding Gγ proteins in various combinations.

They found that three Gγ proteins, DEP1, GGC2 and GS3, interact to determine grain size. DEP1 and GGC2 can both bind to a Gβ protein, RGB1, leading to longer grains. But GS3 can block this by binding to RGB1, leading to shorter grains.

Through this competitive interaction, the balance between these genes determines whether the plant produces short, medium or long grains. Manipulating this balance offers a reliable way to control the size of rice grains.

Supported content

  1. Nature Communications 9, 851 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03141-y
Institutions Share
National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, HZAU, China 0.50
National Center of Plant Gene Research (NCPGR-Wuhan), China 0.50