Biotech Updates

OsMYB103L Regulates Cellulose Synthase Genes and Improves Leaf Shape and Strength in Rice

June 11, 2014

MYB transcription factors have been known to have important roles in plant development, metabolism and stress responses. However, little is known about their functions in rice.

The rice gene OsMYB103L, which encodes an R2R3-MYB transcription factor, was examined to determine its function. OsMYB103L was found to be located in the nucleus. Overexpression of OsMYB103L in rice (Oryza sativa L.) resulted in a rolled leaf phenotype, an important trait in rice breeding. Further analyses also found significant increases in expression levels of several cellulose synthase genes (CESAs), resulting in increased cellulose content in OsMYB103L overexpressing lines. Silencing of the OsMYB103L gene decreased the cellulose content and reduced mechanical strength in leaves. Moreover, expression levels of CESA genes were also decreased in the lines where OsMYB103L was silenced.

The OsMYB103L appears to target the CESA genes for regulation of cellulose synthesis and could potentially be manipulated to form desirable leaf shapes and mechanical strength in rice varieties.

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