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Plant Cell. 2005 Aug;17(8):2281-95. Epub 2005 Jun 24.

Identification of novel genes in Arabidopsis involved in secondary cell wall formation using expression profiling and reverse genetics.

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  • 1Faculty of Life Science, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT United Kingdom.


Forward genetic screens have led to the isolation of several genes involved in secondary cell wall formation. A variety of evidence, however, suggests that the list of genes identified is not exhaustive. To address this problem, microarray data have been generated from tissue undergoing secondary cell wall formation and used to identify genes that exhibit a similar expression pattern to the secondary cell wall-specific cellulose synthase genes IRREGULAR XYLEM1 (IRX1) and IRX3. Cross-referencing this analysis with publicly available microarray data resulted in the selection of 16 genes for reverse genetic analysis. Lines containing an insertion in seven of these genes exhibited a clear irx phenotype characteristic of a secondary cell wall defect. Only one line, containing an insertion in a member of the COBRA gene family, exhibited a large decrease in cellulose content. Five of the genes identified as being essential for secondary cell wall biosynthesis have not been previously characterized. These genes are likely to define entirely novel processes in secondary cell wall formation and illustrate the success of combining expression data with reverse genetics to address gene function.

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