OsMADS18, a membrane-bound MADS-box transcription factor, modulates plant architecture and the abscisic acid response in rice

J Exp Bot. 2019 Aug 7;70(15):3895-3909. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erz198.


The APETALA1 (AP1)/FRUITFULL (FUL)-like transcription factor OsMADS18 plays diverse functions in rice development, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are far from fully understood. Here, we report that down-regulation of OsMADS18 expression in RNAi lines caused a delay in seed germination and young seedling growth, whereas the overexpression of OsMADS18 produced plants with fewer tillers. In targeted OsMADS18 genome-edited mutants (osmads18-cas9), an increased number of tillers, altered panicle size, and reduced seed setting were observed. The EYFP-OsMADS18 (full-length) protein was localized to the nucleus and plasma membrane but the EYFP-OsMADS18-N (N-terminus) protein mainly localized to the nucleus. The expression of OsMADS18 could be stimulated by abscisic acid (ABA), and ABA stimulation triggered the cleavage of HA-OsMADS18 and the translocation of OsMADS18 from the plasma membrane to the nucleus. The inhibitory effect of ABA on seedling growth was less effective in the OsMADS18-overexpressing plants. The expression of a set of ABA-responsive genes was significantly reduced in the overexpressing plants. The phenotypes of transgenic plants expressing EYFP-OsMADS18-N resembled those observed in the osmads18-cas9 mutants. Analysis of the interaction of OsMADS18 with OsMADS14, OsMADS15, and OsMADS57 strongly suggests an essential role for OsMADS18 in rice development.

Keywords: ABA; MADS-box; membrane-bound transcription factor; plant architecture; rice; tiller.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Oryza / drug effects*
  • Oryza / genetics
  • Oryza / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / drug effects*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism*
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Seeds / drug effects
  • Seeds / genetics
  • Seeds / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Abscisic Acid