Upregulation of a KN1 homolog by transposon insertion promotes leafy head development in lettuce

Changchun Yu, Chenghuan Yan, Yuling Liu, Yali Liu, Yue Jia, Dean Lavelle, Guanghui An, Weiyi Zhang, Lei Zhang, Rongkui Han, Robert M. Larkin, Jiongjiong Chen, Richard W. Michelmore, Hanhui Kuang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Leafy head is a unique type of plant architecture found in some vegetable crops, with leaves bending inward to form a compact head. The genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying leafy head in vegetables remain poorly understood. We genetically fine-mapped and cloned a major quantitative trait locus controlling heading in lettuce. The candidate gene (LsKN1) is a homolog of knotted 1 (KN1) from Zea mays Complementation and CRISPR/Cas9 knockout experiments confirmed the role of LsKN1 in heading. In heading lettuce, there is a CACTA-like transposon inserted into the first exon of LsKN1 (LsKN1▽). The transposon sequences act as a promoter rather than an enhancer and drive high expression of LsKN1▽. The enhanced expression of LsKN1▽ is necessary but not sufficient for heading in lettuce. Data from ChIP-sequencing, electrophoretic mobility shift assays, and dual luciferase assays indicate that the LsKN1▽ protein binds the promoter of LsAS1 and down-regulates its expression to alter leaf dorsoventrality. This study provides insight into plant leaf development and will be useful for studies on heading in other vegetable crops.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33668-33678
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 29 2020


  • dorsoventrality
  • leaf development
  • leafy head
  • transposon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Upregulation of a KN1 homolog by transposon insertion promotes leafy head development in lettuce'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this