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J Exp Bot. 2011 Aug;62(13):4495-506. doi: 10.1093/jxb/err164. Epub 2011 May 26.

Brassinosteroids can regulate cellulose biosynthesis by controlling the expression of CESA genes in Arabidopsis.

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School of Life Science and Technology, Xian Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, Shanxi Province, People's Republic of China.


The phytohormones, brassinosteroids (BRs), play important roles in regulating cell elongation and cell size, and BR-related mutants in Arabidopsis display significant dwarf phenotypes. Cellulose is a biopolymer which has a major contribution to cell wall formation during cell expansion and elongation. However, whether BRs regulate cellulose synthesis, and if so, what the underlying mechanism of cell elongation induced by BRs is, is unknown. The content of cellulose and the expression levels of the cellulose synthase genes (CESAs) was measured in BR-related mutants and their wild-type counterpart. The chromatin immunoprecipitation (CHIP) experiments and genetic analysis were used to demonstrate that BRs regulate CESA genes. It was found here that the BR-deficient or BR-perceptional mutants contain less cellulose than the wild type. The expression of CESA genes, especially those related to primary cell wall synthesis, was reduced in det2-1 and bri1-301, and was only inducible by BRs in the BR-deficient mutant det2-1. CHIP experiments show that the BR-activated transcription factor BES1 can associate with upstream elements of most CESA genes particularly those related with the primary cell wall. Furthermore, over-expression of the BR receptor BRI1 in CESA1, 3, and 6 mutants can only partially rescue the dwarf phenotypes. Our findings provide potential insights into the mechanism that BRs regulate cellulose synthesis to accomplish the cell elongation process in plant development.

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