Identification of genes involved in cell wall biogenesis in grasses by differential gene expression profiling of elongating and non-elongating maize internodes

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3545-3561
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number10
Early online date14 Mar 2011
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
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Despite the economic importance of grasses as food, feed, and energy crops, little is known about the genes that control their cell wall synthesis, assembly, and remodelling. Here a detailed transcriptome analysis that allowed the identification of genes involved in grass cell wall biogenesis is provided. Differential gene expression profiling, using maize oligonucleotide arrays, was used to identify genes differentially expressed between an elongating internode, containing cells exhibiting primary cell wall synthesis, and an internode that had just ceased elongation and in which many cells were depositing secondary cell wall material. This is one of only a few studies specifically aimed at the identification of cell wall-related genes in grasses. Analysis identified new candidate genes for a role in primary and secondary cell wall biogenesis in grasses. The results suggest that many proteins involved in cell wall processes during normal development are also recruited during defence-related cell wall remodelling events. This work provides a platform for studies in which candidate genes will be functionally tested for involvement in cell wall-related processes, increasing our knowledge of cell wall biogenesis and its regulation in grasses. Since several grasses are currently being developed as lignocellulosic feedstocks for biofuel production, this improved understanding of grass cell wall biogenesis is timely, as it will facilitate the manipulation of traits favourable for sustainable food and biofuel production.


  • Biofuel, cell wall, defence, grasses, lignocellulose, microarray, Zea mays