The INDETERMINATE DOMAIN Protein BROAD LEAF1 Limits Barley Leaf Width by Restricting Lateral Proliferation

Moritz Jöst, Götz Hensel, Christian Kappel, Arnis Druka, Adrien Sicard, Uwe Hohmann, Sebastian Beier, Axel Himmelbach, Robbie Waugh, Jochen Kumlehn, Nils Stein, Michael Lenhard (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Variation in the size, shape, and positioning of leaves as the major photosynthetic organs strongly impacts crop yield, and optimizing these aspects is a central aim of cereal breeding [1, 2]. Leaf growth in grasses is driven by cell proliferation and cell expansion in a basal growth zone [3]. Although several factors influencing final leaf size and shape have been identified from rice and maize [4-14], what limits grass leaf growth in the longitudinal or transverse directions during leaf development remains poorly understood. To identify factors involved in this process, we characterized the barley mutant broad leaf1 (blf1). Mutants form wider but slightly shorter leaves due to changes in the numbers of longitudinal cell files and of cells along the leaf length. These differences arise during primordia outgrowth because of more cell divisions in the width direction increasing the number of cell files. Positional cloning, analysis of independent alleles, and transgenic complementation confirm that BLF1 encodes a presumed transcriptional regulator of the INDETERMINATE DOMAIN family. In contrast to loss-of-function mutants, moderate overexpression of BLF1 decreases leaf width below wild-type levels. A functional BLF1-vYFP fusion protein expressed from the endogenous promoter shows a dynamic expression pattern in the shoot apical meristem and young leaf primordia. Thus, we propose that the BLF1 gene regulates barley leaf size by restricting cell proliferation in the leaf-width direction. Given the agronomic importance of canopy traits in cereals, identifying functionally different BLF1 alleles promises to allow for the generation of optimized cereal ideotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-909
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number7
Early online date17 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2016


  • Cell division
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Gene expression
  • Hordeum
  • Mutation
  • Plant leaves
  • Plant proteins
  • Plant shoots
  • Journal article
  • Research support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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