Leping Geng, Mingfang Tan, Qiyu Deng, Yijie Wang, Ting Zhang, Xiaosong Hu, Miaomiao Ye, Xingming Lian, Dao-Xiu Zhou, Yu Zhao
Plant Cell, 2024 Jan 8:koad318. doi: 10.1093/plcell/koad318
Crown roots are the main components of root systems in cereals. Elucidating the mechanisms of crown root formation is instrumental for improving nutrient absorption, stress tolerance, and yield in cereal crops. Several members of the WUSCHEL-related homeobox (WOX) and lateral organ boundaries domain (LBD) transcription factor families play essential roles in controlling crown root development in rice (Oryza sativa). However, the functional relationships among these transcription factors in regulating genes involved in crown root development remain unclear. Here, we identified LBD16 as an additional regulator of rice crown root development. We showed that LBD16 is a direct downstream target of WOX11, a key crown root development regulator in rice. Our results indicated that WOX11 enhances LBD16 transcription by binding to its promoter and recruiting its interaction partner JMJ706, a demethylase that removes histone H3 lysine 9 dimethylation (H3K9me2) from the LBD16 locus. In addition, we established that LBD16 interacts with WOX11, thereby impairing JMJ706-WOX11 complex formation and repressing its own transcriptional activity. Together, our results reveal a feedback system regulating genes that orchestrate crown root development in rice, in which LBD16 acts as a molecular rheostat.