Several lesion mimic mutants have been isolated and characterized, but their molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown. Here, a spotted leaf sheath (sles) mutant derived from japonica cultivar Koshihikari is described. The sles phenotype differed from that of other LMMs in that lesion mimic spots were observed on the leaf sheath rather than on leaves. The slesmutant displayed early senescence, as shown, by color loss in the mesophyll cells, a decrease in chlorophyll content, and upregulation of chlorophyll degradation-related and senescence-associated genes. ROS content was also elevated, corresponding to increased expression of genes encoding ROS-generating enzymes. Pathogenesis-related genes were also activated and showed improved resistance to pathogen infection on the leaf sheath. Genetic analysis revealed that the mutant phenotype was controlled by a single recessive nuclear gene. Genetic mapping and sequence analysis showed that a single nucleotide substitution in the sixth exon of LOC_Os07g25680 was responsible for the sles mutant phenotype and this was confirmed by T-DNA insertion line. Taken together, our results revealed that SLES was associated with the formation of lesion mimic spots on the leaf sheath resulting early senescence and defense responses. Further examination of SLES will facilitate a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in ROS homeostasis and may also provide opportunities to improve pathogen resistance in rice.
Figure 1: Morphological comparisons between wild-type and sles mutant plants. (A) Wild type (left) and slesmutant (right) at 60 day after germination. (B) 90-day-old and 120-day-old wild type (left) and sles mutant (right). (C) Root color in wild type (left) and sles mutant (right).