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Genomic Science Program

2007 Awardee

Identification of Cell Wall Synthesis Regulatory Genes ControllingBiomass Characteristics and Yield in Rice ( Oryza sativa )

INVESTIGATORS: Zhaohua Peng, Pamela Ronald, Guo-Liang Wang

INSTITUTION: Mississippi State University

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: It is estimated that the potentialglobal bio-ethanol production from major crop residues is 4.42 x 1011liters annually.Half of the residues are rice ( Oryza sativa ) straw, which is burned to wastecausing severe environmental and health problems. Although agronomiclignocellulosic biomass holds tremendous promise to biofuel industry,the cellulosic ethanol from crop residues has not been commercializeddue to the high cost in bio-refinery. To reduce the cost, the characteristicsof the cell wall, the main component of the crop residue biomass,have to be modified to fit the bio-refinery requirement.

When the plant cell wall is removed, cell wall synthesis is highlyactivated in the plant cell. We will identify genes whose expressionlevels correlate withcell wall synthesis activities during cell wall removal and regenerationusing a large scale gene expression analysis technology calledDNA oligo microarray.In addition, we will also use a large scale protein analysis technologycalled proteomics to identify proteins whose expression and modificationcorrelateswith cell wall synthesis activities. Once the regulatory genes and proteinsare identified, we will identify mutants of the corresponding genes.The mutantswill help us find out the role of each gene in cell wall synthesis. Afterwe understand the function of each individual gene in cell wallsynthesis, wecan genetically manipulate these genes to change the cell wallcomposition for costefficient ethanol fermentation. The results of this project will lead usto make use of crop residues for ethanol production because whatwe havelearned fromrice can be applied to other cereal crops.

OBJECTIVES: The objectives ofthis proposal are: 1) Identify genes, particularly transcription factors,whose expression profiles correlate with cell wallsynthesis activities during cell wall removal and regeneration. 2) Identifyproteinswhose expression correlate with cell wall synthesis activities duringcell wall removaland regeneration. 3) Identify proteins whose phosphorylation patternscorrelate with cell wall synthesis activities. 4) Identify and characterizericemutants of the differentially regulated genes, particularly the genesencoding transcriptionfactors and phosphoproteins.

APPROACH: The cell wall synthesis activities will be stimulatedby removal of the cell wall in rice cells. Gene expression profile change willbe examinedusingrice whole genome DNA oligao microarray made by Dr. Ronald's groupat UC Davis.Protein differential expression will be studied using comparative proteomicsapproaches.Protein phosphorylation will be revealed by Pro-Q Diamond PhosphoproteinStain coupled with mass spectrometry analysis. Rice mutants will begenerated bymaking RNAi transgenic lines and searching for T-DNA and transposoninsertion and activationlines in worldwide mutant collections.

Name: Zhaohua Peng
Phone: 662-325-0685
Fax: 662-325-8664



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