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


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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.

The key questions of this project are:

  • 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?

The details

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 photomorphogenesis 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.

The graduate researcher on this project is: Hong Zhang

Supervision team

Shanghai Jiao Tong University supervisor:
Professor Dabing Zhang (primary contact with SJTU-based student)

University of Melbourne supervisors:
Professor Ute Roessner (primary contact for UoM-based student), Professor Deli Chen

First published on 29 August 2022.

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