Fertility of pedicellate spikelets in sorghum is controlled by a jasmonic acid regulatory module

Nicholas Gladman, Yinping Jiao, Young Koung Lee, Lifang Zhang, Ratan Chopra, Michael Regulski, Gloria Burow, Chad Hayes, Shawn A. Christensen, Lavanya Dampanaboina, Junping Chen, John Burke, Doreen Ware, Zhanguo Xin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


As in other cereal crops, the panicles of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) comprise two types of floral spikelets (grass flowers). Only sessile spikelets (SSs) are capable of producing viable grains, whereas pedicellate spikelets (PSs) cease development after initiation and eventually abort. Consequently, grain number per panicle (GNP) is lower than the total number of flowers produced per panicle. The mechanism underlying this differential fertility is not well understood. To investigate this issue, we isolated a series of ethyl methane sulfonate (EMS)-induced multiseeded (msd) mutants that result in full spikelet fertility, effectively doubling GNP. Previously, we showed that MSD1 is a TCP (Teosinte branched/Cycloidea/PCF) transcription factor that regulates jasmonic acid (JA) biosynthesis, and ultimately floral sex organ development. Here, we show that MSD2 encodes a lipoxygenase (LOX) that catalyzes the first committed step of JA biosynthesis. Further, we demonstrate that MSD1 binds to the promoters of MSD2 and other JA pathway genes. Together, these results show that a JA-induced module regulates sorghum panicle development and spikelet fertility. The findings advance our understanding of inflorescence development and could lead to new strategies for increasing GNP and grain yield in sorghum and other cereal crops.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4951
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Gene expression
  • Jasmonic acid signaling
  • Plant development
  • Transcriptional regulators


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