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Planta. 2012 Jan;235(1):39-52. doi: 10.1007/s00425-011-1481-1. Epub 2011 Aug 2.

Wax crystal-sparse leaf2, a rice homologue of WAX2/GL1, is involved in synthesis of leaf cuticular wax.

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National Key Facility for Crop Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement, Institute of Crop Science, Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences, Beijing, 100081, China.


Epicuticular wax in plants limits non-stomatal water loss, inhibits postgenital organ fusion, protects plants against damage from UV radiation and imposes a physical barrier against pathogen infection. Here, we give a detailed description of the genetic, physiological and morphological consequences of a mutation in the rice gene WSL2, based on a comparison between the wild-type and an EMS mutant. The mutant's leaf cuticle membrane is thicker and less organized than that of the wild type, and its total wax content is diminished by ~80%. The mutant is also more sensitive to drought stress. WSL2 was isolated by positional cloning, and was shown to encode a homologue of the Arabidopsis thaliana genes CER3/WAX2/YRE/FLP1 and the maize gene GL1. It is expressed throughout the plant, except in the root. A transient assay carried out in both A. thaliana and rice protoplasts showed that the gene product is deposited in the endoplasmic reticulum. An analysis of the overall composition of the wax revealed that the mutant produces a substantially reduced quantity of C22-C32 fatty acids, which suggests that the function of WSL2 is associated with the elongation of very long-chain fatty acids.

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