Genes & genetic systems 2016
Genetic analysis of rice mutants responsible for narrow leaf phenotype and reduced vein number.
Leaves are a major site for photosynthesis and a key determinant of plant architecture. Rice produces thin and slender leaves, which consist of the leaf blade and leaf sheath separated by the lamina joint. Two types of vasculature, the large and small vascular bundles, run in parallel, together with a strong structure, the midrib. In this paper, we examined the function of four genes that regulate the width of the leaf blade and the vein number: NARROW LEAF1 (NAL1), NAL2, NAL3 and NAL7. We backcrossed original mutants of these genes with the standard wild-type rice, Taichung 65. We then compared the effect of each mutation on similar genetic backgrounds and examined genetic interactions of these genes. The nal1 single mutation and the nal2 nal3 double mutation showed a severe effect on leaf width, resulting in very narrow leaves. Although vein number was also reduced in the nal1 and nal2 nal3 mutants, the small vein number was more strongly reduced than the large vein number. In contrast, the nal7 mutation showed a milder effect on leaf width and vein number, and both the large and small veins were similarly affected. Thus, the genes responsible for narrow leaf phenotype seem to play distinct roles. The nal7 mutation showed additive effects on both leaf width and vein number, when combined with the nal1 single or the nal2 nal3 double mutation. In addition, observations of inner tissues revealed that cell differentiation was partially compromised in the nal2 nal3 nal7 mutant, consistent with the severe reduction in leaf width in this triple mutant.