, Volume 235, Issue 1, pp 39–52 | Cite as

Wax crystal-sparse leaf2, a rice homologue of WAX2/GL1, is involved in synthesis of leaf cuticular wax

  • Bigang Mao
  • Zhijun Cheng
  • Cailin Lei
  • Fenghua Xu
  • Suwei Gao
  • Yulong Ren
  • Jiulin Wang
  • Xin Zhang
  • Jie Wang
  • Fuqing Wu
  • Xiuping Guo
  • Xiaolu Liu
  • Chuanyin Wu
  • Haiyang Wang
  • Jianmin WanEmail author
Original Article


Epicuticular wax in plants limits non-stomatal water loss, inhibits postgenital organ fusion, protects plants against damage from UV radiation and imposes a physical barrier against pathogen infection. Here, we give a detailed description of the genetic, physiological and morphological consequences of a mutation in the rice gene WSL2, based on a comparison between the wild-type and an EMS mutant. The mutant’s leaf cuticle membrane is thicker and less organized than that of the wild type, and its total wax content is diminished by ~80%. The mutant is also more sensitive to drought stress. WSL2 was isolated by positional cloning, and was shown to encode a homologue of the Arabidopsis thaliana genes CER3/WAX2/YRE/FLP1 and the maize gene GL1. It is expressed throughout the plant, except in the root. A transient assay carried out in both A. thaliana and rice protoplasts showed that the gene product is deposited in the endoplasmic reticulum. An analysis of the overall composition of the wax revealed that the mutant produces a substantially reduced quantity of C22–C32 fatty acids, which suggests that the function of WSL2 is associated with the elongation of very long-chain fatty acids.


Cuticular wax Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Verylong-chain fatty acid (VLCFA) Wax crystal-sparse leaf2 





Ethyl methane sulfonate


Fatty acid elongase


Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry


Scanning electron microscope


Transmission electron microscope


Verylong-chain fatty acid


Wax crystal-sparse leaf2



We thank for Drs. Xianchun Xia (Institute of Crop Science, CAAS) and Zhigang Zhao (Nanjing Agricultural University) for their critical reading of the manuscript. This research was supported by Grants from the Chinese ‘973’ Program (2007CB10880-1), National Transform Science and Technology Program (2009ZX08009-104B) and National Natural Science Foundation (30871498).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 5 (DOC 38 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bigang Mao
    • 1
  • Zhijun Cheng
    • 1
  • Cailin Lei
    • 1
  • Fenghua Xu
    • 1
  • Suwei Gao
    • 1
  • Yulong Ren
    • 2
  • Jiulin Wang
    • 1
  • Xin Zhang
    • 1
  • Jie Wang
    • 1
  • Fuqing Wu
    • 1
  • Xiuping Guo
    • 1
  • Xiaolu Liu
    • 1
  • Chuanyin Wu
    • 1
  • Haiyang Wang
    • 1
  • Jianmin Wan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.National Key Facility for Crop Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement, Institute of Crop ScienceChinese Academy of Agriculture SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.National Key Laboratory for Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, Jiangsu Plant Gene Engineering Research CenterNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina

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