Rice putative methyltransferase gene OsTSD2 is required for root development involving pectin modification

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Pectin synthesis and modification are vital for plant development, although the underlying mechanisms are still not well understood. Here, we report the functional characterization of the OsTSD2 gene, which encodes a putative methyltransferase in rice. All three independent T-DNA insertion lines of OsTSD2 displayed dwarf phenotypes and serial alterations in different zones of the root. These alterations included abnormal cellular adhesion and schizogenous aerenchyma formation in the meristematic zone, inhibited root elongation in the elongation zone, and higher lateral root density in the mature zone. Immunofluorescence (with LM19) and Ruthenium Red staining of the roots showed that unesterified homogalacturonan (HG) was increased in Ostsd2 mutants. Biochemical analysis of cell wall pectin polysaccharides revealed that both the monosaccharide composition and the uronic acid content were decreased in Ostsd2 mutants. Increased endogenous ABA content and opposite roles performed by ABA and IAA in regulating cellular adhesion in the Ostsd2 mutants suggested that OsTSD2 is required for root development in rice through a pathway involving pectin synthesis/modification. A hypothesis to explain the relationship among OsTSD2, pectin methylesterification, and root development is proposed, based on pectin’s function in regional cell extension/division in a zone-dependent manner.

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