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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Development of crops to produce industrially useful natural rubber

Authors
item Whalen, Maureen
item McMahan, Colleen
item Shintani, David - UNIV. OF NEVADA, RENO

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 9, 2012
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Citation: Whalen, M.C., McMahan, C.M., Shintani, D. 2013. Development of crops to produce industrially useful natural rubber. In: Bach, T.J. and Rohmer, M., editors. Isoprenoid Synthesis in Plants and Microorganisms: New Concepts and Experimental Approaches. New York, NY: Springer Science+Business Media p. 329-346.

Interpretive Summary: Natural rubber is an essential industrial commodity that most developed countries have to import. Hevea brasiliensis (Hevea), grown in tropical and subtropical areas is the primary source of natural rubber. The high quality and quantity of the rubber cause us to focus on understanding rubber production in Hevea and two temperate plant species, guayule (Parthenium argentatum) and Russian dandelion (Taraxacum koks-saghyz). We review the cell biology, physiology and biochemistry of rubber production in these three species. Rubber is synthesized on subcellular structures called rubber particles. Purified rubber particles alone contain all necessary factors for rubber production. We have used genomic approaches to identify expressed genes associated with rubber-producing tissues and proteomics to identify proteins associated with rubber particles. The protein and expressed gene identifications guided our analysis of key proteins in rubber production. We discuss biotechnological approaches to improving rubber production.

Technical Abstract: Natural rubber, cis-1,4-polyisoprene, is an essential industrial commodity that most developed countries have to import. Hevea brasiliensis (Hevea), grown in tropical and subtropical areas is the primary source of natural rubber. The high quality and quantity of the rubber cause us to focus on understanding rubber production in Hevea and two temperate plant species, guayule (Parthenium argentatum) and Russian dandelion (Taraxacum koks-saghyz). We review the cell biology, physiology and biochemistry of rubber production in these three species. Rubber is synthesized on subcellular vesicles called rubber particles. Purified rubber particles alone contain all necessary factors for rubber production. We have used genomic approaches to identify expressed genes associated with rubber-producing tissues and proteomics to identify proteins associated with rubber particles. The protein and EST identifications guided our analysis of key proteins in rubber production, including cis-prenyltransferase, rubber elongation factor, small rubber particle protein, allene oxide synthase, HMG CoA reductase, and allylic diphosphate synthases. We discuss biotechnological approaches to improving rubber production.

Last Modified: 8/29/2014
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