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Erect Leaves Caused by Brassinosteroid Deficiency Increase Biomass Production and Grain Yield in Rice

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Erect Leaves Caused by Brassinosteroid Deficiency Increase Biomass Production and Grain Yield in Rice

Tomoaki Sakamoto et al. Nat Biotechnol.

Abstract

New cultivars with very erect leaves, which increase light capture for photosynthesis and nitrogen storage for grain filling, may have increased grain yields. Here we show that the erect leaf phenotype of a rice brassinosteroid-deficient mutant, osdwarf4-1, is associated with enhanced grain yields under conditions of dense planting, even without extra fertilizer. Molecular and biochemical studies reveal that two different cytochrome P450s, CYP90B2/OsDWARF4 and CYP724B1/D11, function redundantly in C-22 hydroxylation, the rate-limiting step of brassinosteroid biosynthesis. Therefore, despite the central role of brassinosteroids in plant growth and development, mutation of OsDWARF4 alone causes only limited defects in brassinosteroid biosynthesis and plant morphology. These results suggest that regulated genetic modulation of brassinosteroid biosynthesis can improve crops without the negative environmental effects of fertilizers.

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