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Crop Biotech Update

Transcription Factor Controlling Production of Secondary Cell Walls Found in Rice

June 6, 2018

Rice produces agronomic biomass residues that contain lots of secondary cell walls (SCW) comprising cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin. However, the transcriptional regulation mechanism underlying SCWs synthesis in rice remains elusive. The team of Yafeng Ye from the Chinese Academy of Sciences studied a NAC family transcription factor (TF), OsSND2, and its relation to OsMYB61, a TF known to regulate SCW synthesis.

The team confirmed that OsSND2 directly binds to the promoter of OsMYB61. The OsSND2 TF was found to be localized in the nucleus and has transcriptional activation activity. Further analysis also indicated that OsSND2 was mainly expressed in internodes and panicles.

Using CRISPR-Cas9, the team developed OsSND2-knockout mutants. These mutants exhibited decreased cellulose content and downregulated expression of SCW related genes. Meanwhile, overexpression of OsSND2 resulted in rolled leaves, increased cellulose content, and upregulated expression of SCW related genes.

Taken together, these findings suggest that OsSND2 functions as a master regulator of SCW synthesis. This study can provide groundwork for manipulating plant biomass production.

For more information, read the article in Rice.