Molecular Breeding

, 38:36 | Cite as

Improvement of cell wall digestibility in tall fescue by Oryza sativa SECONDARY WALL NAC DOMAIN PROTEIN2 chimeric repressor

  • Hiroko Sato
  • Shingo Sakamoto
  • Nobutaka Mitsuda
  • Masaru Ohme-Takagi
  • Tadashi Takamizo


Forage digestibility is one of the most important factors in livestock performance. As grasses grow and mature, dry matter increases but they become fibrous with secondary cell wall deposition and lignification of sclerenchyma cells, and forage quality drops. In rice (Oryza sativa), the SECONDARY WALL NAC DOMAIN PROTEIN2 fused with the modified EAR-like motif repression domain (OsSWN2-SRDX) reduces secondary cell wall thickening in sclerenchyma cells. We introduced OsSWN2-SRDX under the control of the OsSWN1 promoter into tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) to increase cell wall digestibility. Of 23 transgenic plants expressing OsSWN2-SRDX, nine had brittle internodes that were easily broken by bending. Their secondary cell walls were significantly thinner than those of the wild type in interfascicular fibers of internodes and in cortical fiber cells between leaf epidermal cells and vascular bundles. The dry matter digestibility increased by 11.8% in stems and by 6.8% in leaves compared with the wild type, and therefore forage quality was improved. In stem interfascicular fibers, acid detergent fiber and acid insoluble lignin were greatly reduced. Thus, the reduction of indigestible fiber composed of cellulose and lignin increased the degradability of sclerenchyma cell walls. OsSWN2-SRDX plants offer great potential in the genetic improvement of forage digestibility.


Forage digestibility OsSWN2 Secondary cell wall Tall fescue 



We thank Ms. Aeni Hosaka, Ms. Kaori Mogi, Ms. Miyuki Sato, and Ms. Hitomi Takaishi for technical assistance. This work was supported by the Research and Development Program for New Bio-industry Initiatives from the Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution of Japan and the Advanced Low Carbon Technology Research and Development Program (ALCA) from Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).

Supplementary material

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Supplemental Table 1

Primers used in this study. (GIF 81 kb)

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Supplemental Table 2

Phenotypes of transgenic plants expressing OsSWN2-SRDX. *Number of transgenic plants that showed the phenotype/number of transgenic plants expressing OsSWN2-SRDX. (GIF 76 kb)

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Supplemental Fig. 1

Phenotypes of the transgenic and non-transgenic plants at flowering stage. a Wild-type plant (N1). b OsSWN2-SRDX plant (no. 4). c OsSWN2-SRDX plant (no. 2). Arrows indicate drooping stems. (GIF 177 kb)

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Supplemental Fig. 2

AIR/FW of the transgenic plants and non-transgenic plants. a The ratio of AIR/FW in stems. b The ratio of AIR/FW in leaves. Error bars represent SD of quadruplicate experiments. *Significantly different from each source plant by Dunnett’s test at P < 0.05. (GIF 202 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroko Sato
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shingo Sakamoto
    • 3
  • Nobutaka Mitsuda
    • 3
  • Masaru Ohme-Takagi
    • 4
  • Tadashi Takamizo
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, NARONasushiobaraJapan
  2. 2.Hokkaido Agricultural Research Center, NAROSapporoJapan
  3. 3.Bioproduction Research InstituteNational Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and TechnologyTsukubaJapan
  4. 4.Graduate School of Science and EngineeringSaitama UniversitySaitamaJapan

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