RAMOSA1 ENHANCER LOCUS2-Mediated Transcriptional Repression Regulates Vegetative and Reproductive Architecture

Plant Physiol. 2019 Jan;179(1):348-363. doi: 10.1104/pp.18.00913. Epub 2018 Oct 22.


Transcriptional repression in multicellular organisms orchestrates dynamic and precise gene expression changes that enable complex developmental patterns. Here, we present phenotypic and molecular characterization of the maize (Zea mays) transcriptional corepressor RAMOSA1 ENHANCER LOCUS2 (REL2), a unique member of the highly conserved TOPLESS (TPL) family. Analysis of single recessive mutations in rel2 revealed an array of vegetative and reproductive phenotypes, many related to defects in meristem initiation and maintenance. To better understand how REL2-mediated transcriptional complexes relate to rel2 phenotypes, we performed protein interaction assays and transcriptional profiling of mutant inflorescences, leading to the identification of different maize transcription factors and regulatory pathways that employ REL2 repression to control traits directly impacting maize yields. In addition, we used our REL2 interaction data to catalog conserved repression motifs present on REL2 interactors and showed that two of these, RLFGV- and DLN-type motifs, interact with the C-terminal WD40 domain of REL2 rather than the N terminus, which is known to bind LxLxL EAR motifs. These findings establish that the WD40 domain of TPL family proteins is an independent protein interaction surface that may work together with the N-terminal domain to allow the formation of large macromolecular complexes of functionally related transcription factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Genome, Plant
  • Meristem / genetics
  • Meristem / growth & development
  • Meristem / ultrastructure
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / physiology*
  • Reproduction / genetics
  • Zea mays / anatomy & histology
  • Zea mays / genetics*
  • Zea mays / growth & development


  • Plant Proteins