ABSTRACT Stem cell homeostasis by the WUS-CLV negative feedback loop is generally conserved across species; however, its links with other meristem regulators may have species-specific distinctions, rice being an example. We characterize rice OsbZIP47 for vegetative and inflorescence phenotypes in knockdown (OsbZIP47KD) transgenics and uncover its role in meristem maintenance and developmental progression. The shoot apical meristem (SAM) size in five day old OsbZIP47KD seedlings, was reduced as compared to the wild-type (WT). Whereas SAM in older twenty-five-day OsbZIP47KD plants was larger with increased size for L1 and underlying cells. We tested protein interactions of OsbZIP47 with other transcription factors and found partnerships with OsMADS1, RFL, and OSH1. Results from meta-analysis of deregulated panicle transcriptome datasets, in OsbZIP47KD, OsMADS1KD and RFLKD knockdown transgenics, and OSH1 genome-wide binding sites divulge potential targets coregulated by OsbZIP47, OsMADS1, OSH1 and RFL. Transcript analysis in OsbZIP47KD SAM and panicles showed abnormal gene expression for CLAVATA peptide-like signaling FON2-LIKE CLE PROTEIN1 (FCP1), FLORAL ORGAN NUMBER 2 (FON2), and hormone pathway: cytokinin (CK) Isopenteyltransferase2 (OsIPT2), Isopenteyltransferase8 (OsIPT8); auxin biosynthesis OsYUCCA6, OsYUCCA7; gibberellic acid (GA) biosynthesis GA20Ox1, GA20Ox4 and brassinosteriod biosynthesis CYP734A4 genes. The effects on ABBERANT PANICLE ORGANIZATION1 (APO1), OsMADS16, and DROOPING LEAF relate to second and third whorl organ phenotypes in OsbZIP47KD florets. Further, we demonstrate that OsbZIP47 redox status affects its DNA binding to cis elements in the FCP1 locus. Taken together, we provide insights on unique functional roles for OsbZIP47 in rice shoot meristem maintenance, its progression through inflorescence branching and floret development.
One sentence summary OsbZIP47 regulates rice shoot meristem size, panicle and floret development in concert with other meristem regulators such as OsMADS1, RFL and OSH1.