VRS2 regulates hormone-mediated inflorescence patterning in barley
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Plant architecture has clear agronomic and economic implications for crops such as wheat and barley, as it is a critical factor for determining grain yield. Despite this, only limited molecular information is available about how grain-bearing inflorescences, called spikes, are formed and maintain their regular, distichous pattern. Here we elucidate the molecular and hormonal role of Six-rowed spike 2 (Vrs2), which encodes a SHORT INTERNODES (SHI) transcriptional regulator during barley inflorescence and shoot development. We show that Vrs2 is specifically involved in floral organ patterning and phase duration by maintaining hormonal homeostasis and gradients during normal spike development and similarly influences plant stature traits. Furthermore, we establish a link between the SHI protein family and sucrose metabolism during organ growth and development that may have implications for deeper molecular insights into inflorescence and plant architecture in crops.
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