Nonomura Group • Plant Cytogenetics Laboratory

Molecular cytogenetics of plant germ-cell development


Research Summary

We study molecular mechanisms 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.

After multiplied by mitosis, hundreds of spore mother cells go together to meiotic phases, and contribute to establish synchronous pollen formation in rice anthers. The rice RNA binding protein MEL2 that we previously identified forms cytoplasmic granules in spore mother cells, and controls the timing of mitosis-to-meiosis transition by post-transcriptional regulation of meiosis-related genes.


Sera Y, Hanamata S, Sakamoto S, Ono S, Kaneko K, Mitsui Y, Koyano T, Fujita N, Sasou A, Masumura T, Saji H, Nonomura KI, Mitsuda N, Mitsui T, Kurusu T, Kuchitsu K. Essential roles of autophagy in metabolic regulation in endosperm development during rice seed maturation. Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 6;9(1):18544.

Ono S, Liu H, Tsuda K, Fukai E, Tanaka K, Sasaki T, Nonomura KI. EAT1 transcription factor, a non-cell-autonomous regulator of pollen production, activates meiotic small RNA biogenesis in rice anther tapetum. PLoS Genet. 2018 Feb 12;14(2):e1007238.

Tsuda K, Abraham-Juarez MJ, Maeno A, Dong Z, Aromdee D, Meeley R, Shiroishi T, Nonomura KI, Hake S. KNOTTED1 Cofactors, BLH12 and BLH14, Regulate Internode Patterning and Vein Anastomosis in Maize. Plant Cell. 2017 May;29(5):1105-1118.

Liu H, Nonomura KI. A wide reprogramming of histone H3 modifications during male meiosis I in rice is dependent on the Argonaute protein MEL1. J Cell Sci. 2016 Oct 1;129(19):3553-3561.

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