Thursday, January 28, 2016
Daily rhythms and the transcriptional regulation of plant biomass accumulation
Biology Department, University of Massachusetts
Plant growth is regulated by external cues such as light, temperature, water availability, and internal cues generated by the circadian clock. Changes in the rate of cell expansion within the course of a day have been observed in the leaves, stems, and roots of numerous species. Very little is known about the behavior of cell wall thickening. Once a cell has taken final shape, some specialized cell types, namely those found in stem including tracheary elements and sclerenchyma cells, undergo secondary cell wall thickening. We investigated the internal stem anatomy of the grass model system Brachypodium distachyon and found it to be highly similar to domesticated grasses but rather distinct from Arabidopsis thaliana. To better understand the biosynthesis and regulation of secondary cell walls in grasses, we identified and characterized transcription factors that regulate the thickening of cell walls. The results suggest regulatory nodes potentially unique to grasses and a growth behavior that exhibits daily rhythms. Moreover, these regulatory nodes may serve as biotechnology targets to improve energy crop and timber production.
Contact : Christine Granier