J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2024, Vol. 66 ›› Issue (1): 66-85.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.13583

• Cell and Developmental Biology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Post-transcriptional regulation of grain weight and shape by the RBP-A-J-K complex in rice

Ding Ren1†, Hui Liu1,2†, Xuejun Sun1,3†, Fan Zhang4,5†, Ling Jiang1, Ying Wang1, Ning Jiang1, Peiwen Yan1, Jinhao Cui1, Jinshui Yang1, Zhikang Li4,5*, Pingli Lu1,2* and Xiaojin Luo1,3*   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Genetic Engineering and MOE Engineering Research Center of Gene Technology, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438, China;
    2. State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Adaptation and Improvement, School of Life Sciences, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China;
    3. MOE Key Laboratory of Crop Physiology, Ecology and Genetic Breeding College of Agronomy, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang 330045, China;
    4. State Key Laboratory of Crop Gene Resources and Breeding, Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), Beijing 100081, China;
    5. College of Agronomy, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, China
    These authors contributed equally to this work
    *Correspondences: Zhikang Li (lizhikang@caas.cn); Pingli Lu (pinglilu@henu.edu.cn); Xiaojin Luo (luoxj@fudan.edu.cn, Dr. Luo is fully responsible for the distributions of all materials associated with this article)
  • Received:2023-06-03 Accepted:2023-11-12 Online:2023-11-16 Published:2024-01-01

Abstract: RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are components of the post-transcriptional regulatory system, but their regulatory effects on complex traits remain unknown. Using an integrated strategy involving map-based cloning, functional characterizations, and transcriptomic and population genomic analyses, we revealed that RBP-K (LOC_Os08g23120), RBP-A (LOC_Os11g41890), and RBP-J (LOC_Os10g33230) encode proteins that form an RBP-A-J-K complex that negatively regulates rice yield-related traits. Examinations of the RBP-A-J-K complex indicated RBP-K functions as a relatively non-specific RBP chaperone that enables RBP-A and RBP-J to function normally. Additionally, RBP-J most likely affects GA pathways, resulting in considerable increases in grain and panicle lengths, but decreases in grain width and thickness. In contrast, RBP-A negatively regulates the expression of genes most likely involved in auxin-regulated pathways controlling cell wall elongation and carbohydrate transport, with substantial effects on the rice grain filling process as well as grain length and weight. Evolutionarily, RBP-K is relatively ancient and highly conserved, whereas RBP-J and RBP-A are more diverse. Thus, the RBP-A-J-K complex may represent a typical functional model for many RBPs and protein complexes that function at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels in plants and animals for increased functional consistency, efficiency, and versatility, as well as increased evolutionary potential. Our results clearly demonstrate the importance of RBP-mediated post-transcriptional regulation for the diversity of complex traits. Furthermore, rice grain yield and quality may be enhanced by introducing various complete or partial loss-of-function mutations to specific RBP genes using clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 technology and by exploiting desirable natural tri-genic allelic combinations at the loci encoding the components of the RBP-A-J-K complex through marker-assisted selection.

Key words: GL11, grain weight and shape, post-transcriptional regulation, RNA-binding proteins

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