Five Rice Seed-Specific NF-YC Genes Redundantly Regulate Grain Quality and Seed Germination via Interfering Gibberellin Pathway

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jul 29;23(15):8382. doi: 10.3390/ijms23158382.


NF-YCs are important transcription factors with diverse functions in the plant kingdoms including seed development. NF-YC8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 are close homologs with similar seed-specific expression patterns. Despite the fact that some of the NF-YCs are functionally known; their biological roles have not been systematically explored yet, given the potential functional redundancy. In this study, we generated pentuple mutant pnfyc of NF-YC8-12 and revealed their functions in the regulation of grain quality and seed germination. pnfyc grains displayed significantly more chalkiness with abnormal starch granule packaging. pnfyc seed germination and post-germination growth are much slower than the wild-type NIP, largely owing to the GA-deficiency as exogenous GA was able to fully recover the germination phenotype. The RNA-seq experiment identified a total of 469 differentially expressed genes, and several GA-, ABA- and grain quality control-related genes might be transcriptionally regulated by the five NF-YCs, as revealed by qRT-PCR analysis. The results demonstrated the redundant functions of NF-YC8-12 in regulating GA pathways that underpin rice grain quality and seed germination, and shed a novel light on the functions of the seed-specific NF-YCs.

Keywords: NF-YCs; abscisic acid; gibberellins; rice (Oryza sativa L.).

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / metabolism
  • Edible Grain / genetics
  • Edible Grain / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Germination / genetics
  • Gibberellins* / metabolism
  • Oryza* / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Seeds / metabolism


  • Gibberellins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Abscisic Acid