Natural variation in the flag leaf morphology of rice due to a mutation of the NARROW LEAF 1 gene in Oryza sativa L

Fumio Taguchi-Shiobara, Tatsuya Ota, Kaworu Ebana, Taiichiro Ookawa, Masanori Yamasaki, Takanari Tanabata, Utako Yamanouchi, Jianzhong Wu, Nozomi Ono, Yasunori Nonoue, Kazufumi Nagata, Shuichi Fukuoka, Hideyuki Hirabayashi, Toshio Yamamoto, Masahiro Yano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the natural variations in the flag leaf morphology of rice. We conducted a principal component analysis based on nine flag leaf morphology traits using 103 accessions from the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences Core Collection. The first component explained 39% of total variance, and the variable with highest loading was the width of the flag leaf (WFL). A genomewide association analysis of 102 diverse Japanese accessions revealed that marker RM6992 on chromosome 4 was highly associated with WFL. In analyses of progenies derived from a cross between Takanari and Akenohoshi, the most significant quantitative trait locus (QTL) for WFL was in a 10.3-kb region containing the NARROW LEAF 1 (NAL1) gene, located 0.4 Mb downstream of RM6992. Analyses of chromosomal segment substitution lines indicated that a mutation (G1509A single-nucleotide mutation, causing an R233H amino acid substitution in NAL1) was present at the QTL. This explained 13 and 20% of total variability in WFL and the distance between small vascular bundles, respectively. The mutation apparently occurred during rice domestication and spread into japonica, tropical japonica, and indica subgroups. Notably, one accession, Phulba, had a NAL1 allele encoding only the N-terminal, or one-fourth, of the wild-type peptide. Given that the Phulba allele and the histidine-type allele showed essentially the same phenotype, the histidine-type allele was regarded as malfunctional. The phenotypes of transgenic plants varied depending on the ratio of histidine-type alleles to arginine-type alleles, raising the possibility that H233-type products function differently from and compete with R233-type products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-808
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Flag leaf width
  • Natural variation
  • Oryza sativa L
  • Rice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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