Ubiquitin Specific Protease 15 Has an Important Role in Regulating Grain Width and Size in Rice

Ubiquitination and deubiquitination are reversible processes that play crucial roles in regulating organ size in plants. However, information linking deubiquitination and seed size in rice (Oryza sativa) is limited. Here, we characterized a dominant large-grain mutant, large grain1-D (lg1-D), with a 30.8% increase in seed width and a 34.5% increase in 1,000-grain weight relative to the wild type. The lg1-D mutant had more cells oriented in the lateral direction of the spikelet hull compared with the wild type. Map-based cloning showed that LG1 encodes a constitutively expressed ubiquitin-specific protease15 (OsUBP15) that possesses deubiquitination activity in vitro. Loss-of-function and down-regulated expression of OsUBP15 produced narrower and smaller grains than the control. A set of in vivo experiments indicated that the mutant Osubp15 had enhanced protein stability relative to wild-type OsUBP15. Further experiments verified that OsDA1 directly interacted with OsUBP15. Genetic data indicated that OsUBP15 and GRAIN WIDTH 2 (GW2) were not independent in regulating grain width and size. In summary, we identified OsUBP15 as a positive regulator of grain width and size in rice and provide a promising strategy for improvement of grain yield by pyramiding OsUBP15 and gw2.

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