How do environmental factors regulate cytoskeleton and cell wall synthesis in rice seedlings?

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Rice Plants

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This joint PhD project is based at The University of Melbourne with a 12-month stay at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Key questions:

  • How do RMD-mediated cytoskeleton changes impact cellulose biosynthesis and CESA distribution?
  • How does diurnal change impact these cytoskeleton changes?
  • How does the ERF-X sense light and regulate photomorphogenesis?

This joint PhD project is based at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University with a minimum 12-month stay at the University of Melbourne.

Project description

Rice is a global staple food crop. Knowledge for the improvement of growth is therefore critical to agriculture.

Cellulose biosynthesis is also fundamental for plants and fibre-based industries. It is affected by external cues including diurnal cycles and cell cytoskeletons, although mechanisms remain unclear.

Our work has previously shown that a rice cytoskeleton protein RMD regulates actin and microtubule dynamics and photomorphorgenesis in rice. We showed that one light-responsive ERF transcription factor directly regulates expression of RMD and cellulose producing Cellulose Synthase (CESA) genes.

This research project will examine how diurnal changes impact the cytoskeleton and cellulose deposition in rice seedlings through the ERF protein.

The project will be complemented by the project 'Defining root exudates including signalling molecules released by plant roots for nitrogen acquisition in Australian crops' and the collaboration will ensure successful completion of both projects.

Supervision team

Professor Dabing Zhang (Shanghai Jiao Tong University)

Professor Ute Roessner (The University of Melbourne) (primary contact for UM based student), Prof Deli Chen(The University of Melbourne)

Other joint PhD projects