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Double repression of soluble starch synthase genes SSIIa and SSIIIa in rice (Oryza sativa L.) uncovers interactive effects on the physicochemical properties of starch.

  • Zhang, Guoyu
  • Cheng, Zhijun
  • Zhang, Xin
  • Guo, Xiuping
  • Su, Ning
  • Jiang, Ling
  • Mao, Long
  • Wan, Jianmin
Published Article
Genome / National Research Council Canada = Génome / Conseil national de recherches Canada
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2011
DOI: 10.1139/g11-010
PMID: 21595523


Soluble starch synthases (SSs) are major enzymes involved in starch biosynthesis in developing rice (Oryza sativa L.) endosperm. Despite extensive studies of SSs in various plant species including rice, the functional modes of action among multiple SS genes are still not clear. Here, we generated transgenic RNA interference (RNAi) repressed lines for seven of the eight members of the rice SS gene family and studied their effects on starch synthesis and grain formation. Consistent with their expression domains, RNAi repression of genes that encode isozymes SSI, SSIIa, and SSIIIa had strong effects on grain development, whereas no obvious phenotypic changes were observed in transgenic plants with the other SS genes being RNAi repressed, indicating functional redundancies among the genes. To study the potential functional interactions of SS genes, we generated SSIIa/SSIIIa double repression lines whose kernels displayed a chalky kernel appearance and had increased amylose levels, increased pasting temperatures, and decreased viscosities. The double mutation also reduced short (degree of polymerization (DP) 5-6) and long (DP 12-23) amylopectin chain contents in the grain and increased the medium long types (DP 7-11). The nonadditive nature of the double mutation line suggests that SSIIa and SSIIIa interact with each other during starch synthesis. Such interaction may be physical via starch phophorylase as indicated by our pair-wise yeast two-hybrid assays on major starch synthesis enzymes. Collectively, the data showed that SSIIa and SSIIIa play distinctive, but partially overlapping, roles during rice grain starch synthesis. The possibility of extensive redundancy or complementarity among SS isozymes is discussed.


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