MicroProteins are small proteins that interact with larger proteins in vivo to modulate their activity. Some MicroProteins have been described in plants, that are involved in the regulation of specific developmental pathways. In this work synthetic MicroProteins are used for the first time in the attempt of modulating an important breeding trait in rice which is heading date. MicroProteins designed to target the long day flowering repressor protein Hd1 are able to bind to it, thus reducing its activity and accelerating flowering under long days. These results could see a possible biotech application.

Figure: Wild type, hd1 mutant and three Hd1microprotein (Hd1miP) overexpressing lines rice plants of the same age grown under long days conditions. Note that the strongest overexpressing lines Hd1miP-1 and Hd1miP-2 flower earlier mimicking the hd1 mutant phenotype.


Eguen T, Ariza JG Brambilla V, Sun B, Bhati KK, Fornara F, Wenkel S Control of flowering in rice through synthetic microProteins. J Integr Plant Biol. 2019 Sep 3. doi: 10.1111/jipb.12865.

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