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Heading date and grain weight are two determining agronomic traits of crop yield. To date, molecular factors controlling both heading date and grain weight have not been identified. Here we report the isolation of a hemizygous mutation, heading and grain weight (hgw), which delays heading and reduces grain weight in rice. Analysis of hgw mutant phenotypes indicate that the hemizygous hgw mutation decreases latitudinal cell number in the lemma and palea, both composing the spikelet hull that is known to determine the size and shape of brown grain. Molecular cloning and characterization of the HGW gene showed that it encodes a novel plant-specific ubiquitin-associated (UBA) domain protein localized in the cytoplasm and nucleus, and functions as a key upstream regulator to promote expressions of heading date- and grain weight-related genes. Moreover, co-expression analysis in rice and Arabidopsis indicated that HGW and its Arabidopsis homolog are co-expressed with genes encoding various components of ubiquitination machinery, implying a fundamental role for the ubiquitination pathway in heading date and grain weight control.


© 2012 the authors. Published under Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0. Original published version available at

Li, J., Chu, H., Zhang, R., et al. The Rice HGW Gene Encodes A Ubiquitin-Associated (UBA) Domain Protein That Regulates Heading Date and Grain Weight. PLoS ONE 2012, vol. 7, article no. e34231.

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