, Volume 237, Issue 1, pp 15–27 | Cite as

SUI-family genes encode phosphatidylserine synthases and regulate stem development in rice

  • Hengfu Yin
  • Peng Gao
  • Chengwu Liu
  • Jun Yang
  • Zhongchi Liu
  • Da LuoEmail author
Original Article


In vascular plants, the regulation of stem cell niche determines development of aerial shoot which consists of stems and lateral organs. Intercalary meristem (IM) controls internode elongation in rice and other grasses, however little attention has been paid to the underlying mechanism of stem cell maintenance. Here, we investigated the stem development in rice and showed that the Shortened Uppermost Internode 1 (SUI1) family of genes are pivotal for development of rice stems. We demonstrated that SUI-family genes regulate the development of IM for internode elongation and also the cell expansion of the panicle stem rachis in rice. The SUI-family genes encoded base-exchange types of phosphatidylserine synthases (PSSs), which possessed enzymatic activity in a yeast complementary assay. Overexpression of SUI1 and SUI2 caused outgrowths of internodes during vegetative development, and we showed that expression patterns of Oryza Sativa Homeobox 15 (OSH15) and Histone4 were impaired. Furthermore, genome-wide gene expression analysis revealed that overexpression and RNA knockdown of SUI-family genes affected downstream gene expression related to phospholipid metabolic pathways. Moreover, using Ultra-performance liquid chromatography–quadrupole time of flight-mass spectrometry, we analyzed PS contents in different genetic backgrounds of rice and showed that the quantity of very long chain fatty acids PS is affected by transgene of SUI-family genes. Our study reveals a new mechanism conveyed by the SUI1 pathway and provides evidence to link lipid metabolism with plant stem cell maintenance.


Intercalary meristem Internode development Phosphatidylserine synthase Very long chain fatty acids 



Intercalary meristem


Oryza Sativa Homeobox 15




Phosphatidylserine synthase


Shortened Uppermost Internode 1


Very long chain fatty acids


Phosphatidyl ethanolamine


Ultra-performance liquid chromatography



We thank Dr. Hongxuan Lin (Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences) for the help of genetic mapping, Xiaosu Gao (Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences) for the help with confocal microscopy, Xiaoyan Gao (Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences) for help with the SEM analysis, and Yining Liu (Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences) for the help of Mass Spetrometry analysis. We are grateful to Xudong Zhu and Hongqi Chen at China National Rice Research Institute (Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences) for the help with field experiments. We acknowledge financial support of National High-Tech Projects from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grant Number: 2006AA10A102).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 67 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hengfu Yin
    • 1
  • Peng Gao
    • 1
  • Chengwu Liu
    • 1
  • Jun Yang
    • 1
  • Zhongchi Liu
    • 2
  • Da Luo
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.National Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics, Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Cell Biology and Molecular GeneticsUniversity of MarylandMarylandUSA

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