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Plant Cell. 2003 Sep;15(9):2020-31.

BRITTLE CULM1, which encodes a COBRA-like protein, affects the mechanical properties of rice plants.

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  • 1Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.


Plant mechanical strength is an important agronomic trait. To understand the molecular mechanism that controls the plant mechanical strength of crops, we characterized the classic rice mutant brittle culm1 (bc1) and isolated BC1 using a map-based cloning approach. BC1, which encodes a COBRA-like protein, is expressed mainly in developing sclerenchyma cells and in vascular bundles of rice. In these types of cells, mutations in BC1 cause not only a reduction in cell wall thickness and cellulose content but also an increase in lignin level, suggesting that BC1, a gene that controls the mechanical strength of monocots, plays an important role in the biosynthesis of the cell walls of mechanical tissues.

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