Natural variation of rice strigolactone biosynthesis is associated with the deletion of two MAX1 orthologs

Catarina Cardoso, Yanxia Zhang, Muhammad Jamil, Jo Hepworth, Tatsiana Charnikhova, Stanley O N Dimkpa, Caroline Meharg, Mark H Wright, Junwei Liu, Xiangbing Meng, Yonghong Wang, Jiayang Li, Susan R McCouch, Ottoline Leyser, Adam H Price, Harro J Bouwmeester, Carolien Ruyter-Spira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Rice (Oryza sativa) cultivar Azucena--belonging to the Japonica subspecies--exudes high strigolactone (SL) levels and induces high germination of the root parasitic plant Striga hermonthica. Consistent with the fact that SLs also inhibit shoot branching, Azucena is a low-tillering variety. In contrast, Bala, an Indica cultivar, is a low-SL producer, stimulates less Striga germination, and is highly tillered. Using a Bala × Azucena F6 population, a major quantitative trait loci--qSLB1.1--for the exudation of SL, tillering, and induction of Striga germination was detected on chromosome 1. Sequence analysis of the corresponding locus revealed a rearrangement of a 51- to 59-kbp stretch between 28.9 and 29 Mbp in the Bala genome, resulting in the deletion of two cytochrome P450 genes--SLB1 and SLB2--with high homology to the Arabidopsis SL biosynthesis gene, MAX1. Both rice genes rescue the Arabidopsis max1-1 highly branched mutant phenotype and increase the production of the SL, ent-2'-epi-5-deoxystrigol, when overexpressed in Bala. Furthermore, analysis of this region in 367 cultivars of the publicly available Rice Diversity Panel population shows that the rearrangement at this locus is a recurrent natural trait associated with the Indica/Japonica divide in rice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2379-2384
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2014


  • Chromosomes, Plant
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genetic Variation
  • Lactones
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oryza sativa
  • Plant Proteins
  • Quantitative Trait Loci


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