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Crop Biotech Update

Double Knockout of OsWRKY36 and OsWRKY102 Boosts Rice Lignification

March 25, 2020

Experts from Kyoto University and partner institutions developed double mutant lines of rice to gather information on enhancing lignin deposition in grass species which are vital lignocellulose feedstocks. Their findings are reported in Plant Science.

Enriching plant's lignin contributes to improved applications of lignocellulosic biomass into solid biofuels and valuable aromatic chemicals. This led Takuji Miyamoto and colleagues to generate rice transgenic lines deficient in OsWRKY36 and OsWRKY102,  which code for putative transcriptional repressors for secondary cell wall formation. They used CRISPR/Cas9-mediated targeted mutagenesis and chemical and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods to characterize altered cell walls.

The results showed OsWRKY36 and OsWRKY102 mutants had boosted lignin content by up to 28% and 32%, respectively. Furthermore, double mutants had enriched lignin in the cell walls by up to 41%, with substantially altered culm morphology compared to the single mutant lines and wild-type controls.

The findings indicate that both OsWRKY36 and OsWRKY102 are involved in the repression of rice lignification. 

Read the article in Plant Science for more findings.

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