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J Plant Res. 2014 May;127(3):423-32. doi: 10.1007/s10265-014-0631-5. Epub 2014 Apr 11.

Functional conservation of the glycosyltransferase gene GT47A in the monocot rice.

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State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, College of Agronomy, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, 210095, China.


Glucuronoarabinoxylan is the major hemicellulose in grass cell walls, yet the mechanism of xylan synthesis in monocot plants is still unclear. Unraveling the genes involved in the biosynthesis of xylan in rice will be very important for the utilization of rice straw as a source of bioenergy in the future. In this report, we investigated the functional role of a rice gene homologous to Arabidopsis IRREGULAR XYLEM10 (IRX10), belonging to the glycosyl transferase (GT) gene family 47 (GT47), in the biosynthesis of xylan. The protein sequence of OsGT47A from rice exhibits a 93.49% similarity to IRX10, which is involved in the biosynthesis of glucuronoxylan in Arabidopsis. Phylogenetic analysis of the GT47 glycosyl transferase family in the rice genome revealed that OsGT47A is a closely related homolog of IRX10 and IRX10L. Expression pattern analysis showed that the OsGT47A gene is highly expressed in the rice stem. Overexpression of OsGT47A in the irx10 irx10L double mutant rescued the plant growth phenotype and restored secondary wall thickness. Analysis of monosaccharides indicated that the rescued plants had levels of xylose identical to those of the wild type plants, and the fluorescence signals were restored in the complementation plants by xylan immunolocalization. The OsGT47A complementation under the native promoter of Arabidopsis IRX10L (ProIRX10L) partially rescued the double mutant, indicating that OsGT47A is functionally equivalent to IRX10L. Together, these results suggest that the IRX10 homolog OsGT47A exhibits functional conservation and is most likely involved in xylan synthesis in rice.

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