ZmEHD1 Is Required for Kernel Development and Vegetative Growth through Regulating Auxin Homeostasis

The roles of C-terminal Eps15 homology domain (EHD) proteins in clathrin-mediated endocytosis in plants are poorly understood. Here, we isolated a maize (Zea mays) mutant, designated ehd1, which showed defects in kernel development and vegetative growth. Positional cloning and transgenic analysis revealed that ehd1 encodes an EHD protein. Internalization of the endocytic tracer FM4-64 was substantially reduced in the ehd1 mutant and ZmEHD1 knockout mutants. We further demonstrated that ZmEHD1 and the ZmAP2 subunit physically interact at the plasma membrane. Auxin distribution and ZmPIN1a-YFP localization were altered in the ehd1 mutant. Kernel indole-3-acetic acid levels were substantially lower in the ehd1 mutant than in wild-type maize. Exogenous application of 1-naphthaleneacetic acid, but not GA3 or 2-naphthaleneacetic acid, rescued the seed germination and seedling emergency phenotypic defects of ehd1 mutants. Taken together, these results indicate that ZmEHD1 regulates auxin homeostasis by mediating clathrin-mediated endocytosis through its interaction with the ZmAP2 subunit, which is crucial for kernel development and vegetative growth of maize.

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