Low glutelin content1 (Lgc1) is a dominant mutation that reduces glutelin content in rice grains. Glutelin is a major seed storage protein encoded by a multigene family. RNA gel blot and reverse transcriptase-mediated PCR analyses revealed that Lgc1 acts at the mRNA level in a similarity-dependent manner. In Lgc1 homozygotes, there is a 3.5-kb deletion between two highly similar glutelin genes that forms a tail-to-tail inverted repeat, which might produce a double-stranded RNA molecule, a potent inducer of RNA silencing. The hypothesis that Lgc1 suppresses glutelin expression via RNA silencing is supported by transgenic analysis using this Lgc1 candidate region, by reporter gene analysis, and by the detection of small interfering RNAs. In this context, Lgc1 provides an interesting example of RNA silencing occurring among genes that exhibit various levels of similarity to an RNA-silencing-inducing gene. Possible mechanisms for gene silencing of the glutelin multigene family by Lgc1 are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas