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Regulation of OsGRF4 by OsmiR396 controls grain size and yield in rice

A Corrigendum to this article was published on 05 January 2016


An increase in grain yield is crucial for modern agriculture1. Grain size is one of the key components of grain yield in rice and is regulated by quantitative trait loci (QTLs)2,3. Exploring new QTLs for grain size will help breeders develop elite rice varieties with higher yields3,4. Here, we report a new semi-dominant QTL for grain size and weight (GS2) in rice, which encodes the transcription factor OsGRF4 (GROWTH-REGULATING FACTOR 4) and is regulated by OsmiR396. We demonstrate that a 2 bp substitution mutation in GS2 perturbs OsmiR396-directed regulation of GS2, resulting in large and heavy grains and increased grain yield. Further results reveal that GS2 interacts with the transcription coactivitors OsGIF1/2/3, and overexpression of OsGIF1 increases grain size and weight. Thus, our findings define the regulatory mechanism of GS2, OsGIFs and OsmiR396 in grain size and weight control, suggesting this pathway could be used to increase yields in crops.

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Figure 1: Map-based cloning of the GS2 QTL.
Figure 2: GS2 interacts with OsGIF1/2/3, and overexpression of OsGIF1 increases grain size and weight.
Figure 3: The GS2AA allele affects OsmiR396-directed regulation on GS2.
Figure 4: Yield traits of NIL-GS2 and NIL-GS2AA plants.


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We would like to thank Q. Qian, D. Zeng and G. Dong for their helps in field experiments. This work was supported by the grants from the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CBA01401), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants 91535203, 31425004 and 91417304), the Ministry of Agriculture of China (2014ZX08009-003) and Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA08020108).

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Authors and Affiliations



P.D., X.Z. and Y.L designed the research. Y.L. and X.Z supervised the project. P.D., S.N., J.W. and B.Z. performed most of experiments. P.D. did molecular and biochemical experiments. S.N. and Y.W. performed yield analysis. B.Z. conducted rice transformation. R. X., J.W. and H.C. performed QTL mapping. P.D., X.Z. and Y.L. analysed data. Y.L. and P.D. wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to Xudong Zhu or Yunhai Li.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Duan, P., Ni, S., Wang, J. et al. Regulation of OsGRF4 by OsmiR396 controls grain size and yield in rice. Nature Plants 2, 15203 (2016).

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