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Mutations In The Rice OsCHR4 Gene, Encoding A CHD3 Family Chromatin Remodeler, Induce Narrow And Rolled Leaves With Increased Cuticular Wax

Tingting Guo, Daofeng Wang, Jingjing Fang, Jinfeng Zhao, Shoujiang Yuan, Langtao Xiao, Xueyong Li

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Leaf blade width, curvature, and cuticular wax are important agronomic traits of rice. Here, we report the rice Oschr4-5 mutant characterized by pleiotropic phenotypes, including narrow and rolled leaves, enhanced cuticular wax deposition and reduced plant height and tiller number. The reduced leaf width is caused by a reduced number of longitudinal veins and increased auxin content. The cuticular wax content was significantly higher in the Oschr4-5 mutant, resulting in reduced water loss rate and enhanced drought tolerance. Molecular characterization reveals that a single-base deletion results in a frame-shift mutation from the second chromodomain of OsCHR4, a CHD3 (chromodomain helicase DNA-binding) family chromatin remodeler, in the Oschr4-5 mutant. Expressions of seven wax biosynthesis genes (GL1-4, WSL4, OsCER7, LACS2, LACS7, ROC4 and BDG) and four auxin biosynthesis genes (YUC2, YUC3, YUC5 and YUC6) was up-regulated in the Oschr4-5 mutant. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed that the transcriptionally active histone modification H3K4me3 was increased, whereas the repressive H3K27me3 was reduced in the upregulated genes in the Oschr4-5 mutant. Therefore, OsCHR4 regulates leaf morphogenesis and cuticle wax formation by epigenetic modulation of auxin and wax biosynthetic genes expression.