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Rice Ethylene-Response AP2/ERF Factor OsEATB Restricts Internode Elongation By Down-Regulating A Gibberellin Biosynthetic Gene    

Weiwei Qi, Fan Sun, Qianjie Wang, Mingluan Chen, Yunqing Huang, Yu-Qi Feng, Xiaojin Luo, Jinshui Yang

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Abstract Plant height is a decisive factor in plant architecture. Rice (Oryza sativa) plants have the potential for rapid internodal elongation, which determines plant height. A large body of physiological research has shown that ethylene and gibberellin are involved in this process. The APETALA2 (AP2)/Ethylene-Responsive Element Binding Factor (ERF) family of transcriptional factors is only present in the plant kingdom. This family has various developmental and physiological functions. A rice AP2/ERF gene, OsEATB (for ERF protein associated with tillering and panicle branching) was cloned from indica rice variety 9311. Bioinformatic analysis suggested that this ERF has a potential new function. Ectopic expression of OsEATB showed that the cross talk between ethylene and gibberellin, which is mediated by OsEATB, might underlie differences in rice internode elongation. Analyses of gene expression demonstrated that OsEATB restricts ethylene-induced enhancement of gibberellin responsiveness during the internode elongation process by down-regulating the gibberellin biosynthetic gene, ent-kaurene synthase A. Plant height is negatively correlated with tiller number, and higher yields are typically obtained from dwarf crops. OsEATB reduces rice plant height and panicle length at maturity, promoting the branching potential of both tillers and spikelets. These are useful traits for breeding high-yielding crops.