Rice Brittleness Mutants: A Way to Open the ‘Black Box’ of Monocot Cell Wall Biosynthesis

Authors

  • Baocai Zhang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics and National Center for Plant Gene Research, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
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  • Yihua Zhou

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics and National Center for Plant Gene Research, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
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Corresponding author
Tel: +86 10 6480 7605; Fax: +86 10 6487 3428; E-mail: yhzhou@genetics.ac.cn

Abstract

Rice is a model organism for studying the mechanism of cell wall biosynthesis and remolding in Gramineae. Mechanical strength is an important agronomy trait of rice (Oryza sativa L.) plants that affects crop lodging and grain yield. As a prominent physical property of cell walls, mechanical strength reflects upon the structure of different wall polymers and how they interact. Studies on the mechanisms that regulate the mechanical strength therefore consequently results in uncovering the genes functioning in cell wall biosynthesis and remodeling. Our group focuses on the study of isolation of brittle culm (bc) mutants and characterization of their corresponding genes. To date, several bc mutants have been reported. The identified genes have covered several pathways of cell wall biosynthesis, revealing many secrets of monocot cell wall biosynthesis. Here, we review the progress achieved in this research field and also highlight the perspectives in expectancy. All of those lend new insights into mechanisms of cell wall formation and are helpful for harnessing the waste rice straws for biofuel production.

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