Transcription factor OsbZIP49 controls tiller angle and plant architecture through the induction of indole-3-acetic acid-amido synthetases in rice

Plant J. 2021 Dec;108(5):1346-1364. doi: 10.1111/tpj.15515. Epub 2021 Oct 16.


Tiller angle is an important determinant of plant architecture in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Auxins play a critical role in determining plant architecture; however, the underlying metabolic and signaling mechanisms are still largely unknown. In this study, we have identified a member of the bZIP family of TGA class transcription factors, OsbZIP49, that participates in the regulation of plant architecture and is specifically expressed in gravity-sensing tissues, including the shoot base, nodes and lamina joints. Transgenic rice plants overexpressing OsbZIP49 displayed a tiller-spreading phenotype with reduced plant height and internode lengths. In contrast, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of OsbZIP49 resulted in a compact architecture. Follow-up studies indicated that the effects of OsbZIP49 on tiller angles are mediated through changes in shoot gravitropic responses. Additionally, we provide evidence that OsbZIP49 activates the expression of indole-3-acetic acid-amido synthetases OsGH3-2 and OsGH3-13 by directly binding to TGACG motifs located within the promoters of both genes. Increased GH3-catalyzed conjugation of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) in rice transformants overexpressing OsbZIP49 resulted in the increased accumulation of IAA-Asp and IAA-Glu, and a reduction in local free auxin, tryptamine and IAA-Glc levels. Exogenous IAA or naphthylacetic acid (NAA) partially restored shoot gravitropic responses in OsbZIP49-overexpressing plants. Knockout of OsbZIP49 led to reduced expression of both OsGH3-2 and OsGH3-13 within the shoot base, and increased accumulation of IAA and increased OsIAA20 expression levels were observed in transformants following gravistimulation. Taken together, the present results reveal the role transcription factor OsbZIP49 plays in determining plant architecture, primarily due to its influence on local auxin homeostasis.

Keywords: OsGH3-13; OsGH3-2; OsbZIP49; Oryza sativa L.; auxin homeostasis; indole-3-acetic acid-amido synthetase; plant architecture; shoot gravitropism; tiller angle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Gravitropism
  • Homeostasis
  • Indoleacetic Acids / metabolism*
  • Multienzyme Complexes / genetics
  • Multienzyme Complexes / metabolism
  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Oryza / growth & development
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Indoleacetic Acids
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • indole-3-acetic acid synthase