In grass inflorescences, a structure called the “pulvinus” is found between the inflorescence main stem and lateral branches. The size of the pulvinus affects the angle of the lateral branches that emerge from the main axis and therefore has a large impact on inflorescence architecture. Through EMS mutagenesis we have identified three complementation groups of recessive mutants in maize having defects in pulvinus formation. All mutants showed extremely acute tassel branch angles accompanied by a significant reduction in the size of the pulvinus compared with normal plants. Two of the complementation groups correspond to mutations in the previously identified genes, RAMOSA2 (RA2) and LIGULELESS1 (LG1). Mutants corresponding to a third group were cloned using mapped-based approaches and found to encode a new member of the plant-specific TCP (TEOSINTE BRANCHED1/CYCLOIDEA/PROLIFERATING CELL NUCLEAR ANTIGEN FACTOR) family of DNA-binding proteins, BRANCH ANGLE DEFECTIVE 1 (BAD1). BAD1 is expressed in the developing pulvinus as well as in other developing tissues, including the tassels and juvenile leaves. Both molecular and genetics studies show that RA2 is upstream of BAD1, whereas LG1 may function in a separate pathway. Our findings demonstrate that BAD1 is a TCP class II gene that functions to promote cell proliferation in a lateral organ, the pulvinus, and influences inflorescence architecture by impacting the angle of lateral branch emergence.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Bai, Fang; Reinheimer, Renata; Durantini, Diego; Kellogg, Elizabeth; and Schmidt, Robert, "TCP Transcription Factor, BRANCH ANGLE DEFECTIVE 1 (BAD1), Is Required for Normal Tassel Branch Angle Formation in Maize" (2012). Biology Department Faculty Works. 54.