Dissection of the genetic pathways and mechanisms by which anther development occurs in grasses is crucial for both a basic understanding of plant development and for examining traits of agronomic importance such as male sterility. In rice, MULTIPLE SPOROCYTES1 (MSP1), a leucine-rich-repeat receptor kinase, plays an important role in anther development by limiting the number of sporocytes. OsTDL1a (a TPD1-like gene in rice) encodes a small protein that acts as a cofactor of MSP1 in the same regulatory pathway. In this study, we analyzed small RNA and mRNA changes in different stages of spikelets from wild-type rice, and from msp1 and ostdl1a mutants. Analysis of the small RNA data identified miRNAs demonstrating differential abundances. miR2275 was depleted in the two rice mutants; this miRNA is specifically enriched in anthers and functions to trigger the production of 24-nt phased secondary siRNAs (phasiRNAs) from PHAS loci. We observed that the 24-nt phasiRNAs as well as their precursor PHAS mRNAs were also depleted in the two mutants. An analysis of co-expression identified three Argonaute-encoding genes (OsAGO1d, OsAGO2b, and OsAGO18) that accumulate transcripts coordinately with phasiRNAs, suggesting a functional relationship. By mRNA in situ analysis, we demonstrated a strong correlation between the spatiotemporal pattern of these OsAGO transcripts and phasiRNA accumulations.
Keywords: Anther; Argonaute; microRNA; phasiRNA; rice; spikelet..
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.