Homeobox transcription factors OsZHD1 and OsZHD2 induce inflorescence meristem activity at floral transition in rice

Plant Cell Environ. 2023 Apr;46(4):1327-1339. doi: 10.1111/pce.14438. Epub 2022 Sep 30.


Floral transition starts in the leaves when florigens respond to various environmental and developmental factors. Among several regulatory genes that are preferentially expressed in the inflorescence meristem during the floral transition, this study examines the homeobox genes OsZHD1 and OsZHD2 for their roles in regulating this transition. Although single mutations in these genes did not result in visible phenotype changes, double mutations in these genes delayed flowering. Florigen expression was not altered in the double mutants, indicating that the delay was due to a defect in florigen signaling. Morphological analysis of shoot apical meristem at the early developmental stage indicated that inflorescence meristem development was significantly delayed in the double mutants. Overexpression of ZHD2 causes early flowering because of downstream signals after the generation of florigens. Expression levels of the auxin biosynthesis genes were reduced in the mutants and the addition of indole-3-acetic acid recovered the defect in the mutants, suggesting that these homeobox genes play a role in auxin biosynthesis. A rice florigen, RICE FLOWERING LOCUS T 1, binds to the promoter regions of homeobox genes. These results indicate that florigens stimulate the expression of homeobox genes, enhancing inflorescence development in the shoot apex.

Keywords: auxin biosynthesis; florigen; reproductive meristem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Florigen / metabolism
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Homeobox
  • Indoleacetic Acids / metabolism
  • Inflorescence*
  • Meristem* / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors
  • Florigen
  • Indoleacetic Acids