GhAPC8 regulates leaf blade angle by modulating multiple hormones in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)
Yanlong Jin, Jinghui Li, Qianhao Zhu, Xin Du, Feng Liu, Yanjun Li, Sunny Ahmar, Xinyu Zhang, Jie Sun and Fei Xue
International Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Leaf angle, including leaf petiole angle (LPA) and leaf blade angle (LBA), is an important trait affecting plant architecture. Anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) genes play a vital role in plant growth and development, including regulation of leaf angle. Here, we identified and characterized the APC genes in Upland cotton (G. hirsutum L.) with a focus on GhAPC8, a homolog of soybean GmILPA1 involved in regulation of LPA. We showed that independently silencing the At or Dt sub-genome homoeolog of GhAPC8 using virus-induced gene silencing reduced plant height and LBA, and that reduction of LBA could be caused by uneven growth of cortex parenchyma cells on the adaxial and abaxial sides of the junction between leaf blade and leaf petiole. The junction between leaf blade and leaf petiole of the GhAPC8-silenced plants had an elevated level of brassinosteroid (BR) and a decreased levels of auxin and gibberellin. Consistently, comparative transcriptome analysis found that silencing GhAPC8 activated genes of the BR biosynthesis and signaling pathways as well as genes related to ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) identified gene modules significantly associated with plant height and LBA, and candidate genes bridging GhAPC8, the pathways of BR biosynthesis and signaling and ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. These results demonstrated a role of GhAPC8 in regulating LBA, likely achieved by modulating the accumulation and signaling of multiple phytohormones.