As an important agronomic trait, leaf rolling in rice (Oryza sativa L.) has attracted much attention from plant biologists and breeders. Moderate leaf rolling increases the amount of photosynthesis in cultivars and hence raises grain yield. Here, we describe the map-based cloning of the gene RL14, which was found to encode a 2OG-Fe (II) oxygenase of unknown function. rl14 mutant plants had incurved leaves because of the shrinkage of bulliform cells on the adaxial side. In addition, rl14 mutant plants displayed smaller stomatal complexes and decreased transpiration rates, as compared with the wild type. Defective development could be rescued functionally by the expression of wild-type RL14. RL14 was transcribed in sclerenchymatous cells in leaves that remained wrapped inside the sheath. In mature leaves, RL14 accumulated mainly in the mesophyll cells that surround the vasculature. Expression of genes related to secondary cell wall formation was affected in rl14-1 mutants, and cellulose and lignin content were altered in rl14-1 leaves. These results reveal that the RL14 gene affects water transport in leaves by affecting the composition of the secondary cell wall. This change in water transport results in water deficiency, which is the major reason for the abnormal shape of the bulliform cells.
© 2012 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal © 2012 Society for Experimental Biology, Association of Applied Biologists and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.