DOI: 10.1111/nph.19226 ISSN:

A point mutation in the rice alpha‐tubulin gene OsTUBA3 causes grain notching

Chenshan Xu, Bingtang Chen, Shanjin Huang, Zhuyun Deng, Tai Wang
  • Plant Science
  • Physiology


Grain notching is a common deformation that decreases rice (Oryza sativa) quality; however, the underlying molecular basis causing grain notching remains unclear.

We report mechanisms underlying grain notching in Small and notched grain (Sng) mutants, which contained an arginine to histidine substitution at amino acid position 422 (R422H) of the α‐tubulin protein OsTUBA3. The R422H mutation decreased cell length and increased cell width/height of glumes and caryopses, but led to elongated caryopses compressed within shortened glumes, thus giving rise to notched and small grains. Glume and caryopsis cells had different dimensional orientations relative to the directions of organ elongation. Thus, the abnormal cell expansion induced in glumes and caryopses by the R422H mutation had different effects on elongation of these organs.

The R422H mutation in OsTUBA3 compromised β‐tubulin binding and led to formation of defective heterodimers. This in turn affected tubulin incorporation and microtubule (MT) nucleation and regrowth, consequently leading to MT instability and reducing the transverse orientation. The defective MT dynamics affected cell expansion and shape, causing different alterations in glume and caryopsis dimensions and resulting in grain notching.

These data indicate that Arg422 in OsTUBA3 is crucial for MT dynamics and that substitution with His causes grain notching, reducing grain quality and yield. These findings offer valuable insights into the molecular regulation underlying grain development in rice.

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