Experimental Farm • Nonomura Group

Molecular cytogenetics of plant germ-cell development


Research Summary

We study genetic systems promoting the reproductive cycle, including meiosis, in rice. Meiosis is a highly orchestrated biological event to transmit genetic information stably, and to simultaneously create a genetic diversity via meiotic recombination. Elucidation of the underlying mechanisms is important also for applications to improve breeding efficiency and extend breeding use to wild species.

In addition, we engage in the conservation program of genetic rice resources, such as wild species and local varieties. It contains many precious strains going to be lost at their original habitats.

MEL1 promotes large-scale meiotic chromosome remodeling (LMR). (A) The mel1 mutant is sterile due to defective meiosis. (B) MEL1 expression (green) was restricted to germ cells in anthers. (C, D) LMR in wild-type meiocytes. The H3K9me2 level (red) was dramatically increased during meiosis transition, while H3K9ac (green) was diminished (D). (E, F) LMR was disrupted in the mel1 mutant.


Liu, H., and Nonomura, K. (2016). A wide reprogramming of histone H3 modifications during male meiosis I in rice is dependent on the Argonaute protein MEL1. J Cell Sci 129, 3553-3561.

Miyazaki, S., Sato, Y., Asano, T., Nagamura, Y., and Nonomura, K. (2015). Rice MEL, the RNA recognition motif (RRM) protein, binds in vitro to meiosis-expressed genes containing U-rich RNA consensus sequences in the 3′-UTR. Plant Mol Biol 89, 293-307.

Komiya, R., Ohyanagi, H., Niihama, M., Watanabe, T., Nakano, M., Kurata, N., and Nonomura, K. (2014). Rice germline-specific Argonaute MEL1 protein binds to phasiRNAs generated from more than 700 lincRNAs. Plant J 78, 385-397.

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