Efficient monocotyledenous plant models to study starch metabolism is lacking. We will establish Brachypodium distachyon as a new model for starch biosynthesis in important crop cereals like barley and wheat. B. distachyon is easy to cultivate, has small size, rapid life cycle and pre-domestication qualities. Its genome is sequenced and a BAC library identified several starch biosynthesis genes. Brachypodium starch granules display similar characteristics as barley starch granules and hence seems to synthesize crop-like storage starch.
We will identify the genes involved in starch metabolism and study relation to cereal crops. Transgenic Brachypodium with modified starch structures will be generated and starch molecular structure and morphological - topographical mesostructures investigated. Starch-related grain metabolism, will be investigated using a GC-MS based metabolite profiling approach.
Blennow, A. and Engelsen, S.B. (2010) Helix-breaking news: fighting crystalline starch energy deposits in the cell. Trends Plant Sci. 15/4, 236-240
Damager, I., Engelsen, S.B., Blennow, A., Møller, B.L., and Motawia, S.M. (2010) First principles insight into starch-like a-glucans: their synthesis, conformation and hydration. Chem. Rev. 110, 2049-80