1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
We propose to identify genes that regulate cell walls in maize leaves in
order to improve saccharification in grass species.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
We cloned the Corngrass gene in maize that keeps the plant in a juvenile state. We determined that it is a microRNA that regulates SPL transcription factors. These transcription factors are thus responsible for the shift from juvenile to adult leaves and for the production of prop roots in maize. We will determine the genes that are regulated by each SPL gene using reverse genetics and a combination of biochemistry and histology.
The project relates to objective 3 to determine the function of genes through transgenic tests of the parent project. During the past year, Corngrass was overexpressed in poplar, Brachypodium, Arabidopsis and switchgrass. The resulting plants had increased expression of juvenile characters. The work was published in PNAS and resulted in renewal of the grant. The new grant is 5335-21000-034-05R.