Ken-ichiro Hibara, Masayuki Miya, Sean Akira Benvenuto, Naoko Hibara-Matsuo, Manaki Mimura, Takanori Yoshikawa, Masaharu Suzuki, Makoto Kusaba, Shin Taketa, Jun-ichi Itoh
The plastochron, the time interval between the formation of two successive leaves, is an important determinant of plant architecture. We genetically and phenotypically investigated many-noded dwarf (mnd) mutants in barley. The mnd mutants exhibited a shortened plastochron and a decreased leaf blade length, and resembled previously reported plastochron1 (pla1), pla2, and pla3 mutants in rice. In addition, the maturation of mnd leaves was accelerated, similar to pla mutants in rice. Several barley mnd alleles were derived from three genes—MND1, MND4, and MND8. Although MND4 coincided with a cytochrome P450 family gene that is a homolog of rice PLA1, we clarified that MND1 and MND8 encode an N-acetyltransferase-like protein and a MATE transporter-family protein, which are respectively orthologs of rice GW6a and maize BIGE1 and unrelated to PLA2 or PLA3. Expression analyses of the three MND genes revealed that MND1 and MND4 were expressed in limited regions of the shoot apical meristem and leaf primordia, but MND8 did not exhibit a specific expression pattern around the shoot apex. In addition, the expression levels of the three genes were interdependent among the various mutant backgrounds. Genetic analyses using the double mutants mnd4mnd8 and mnd1mnd8 indicated that MND1 and MND4 regulate the plastochron independently of MND8, suggesting that the plastochron in barley is controlled by multiple genetic pathways involving MND1, MND4, and MND8. Correlation analysis between leaf number and leaf blade length indicated that both traits exhibited a strong negative association among different genetic backgrounds but not in the same genetic background. We propose that MND genes function in the regulation of the plastochron and leaf growth and revealed conserved and diverse aspects of plastochron regulation via comparative analysis of barley and rice.