The role of CCC proteins in rice root hairs and pollen development and growth

arabidopsis plants

Examine the importance of CCC proteins in rice root hair and pollen development using microscopy and phenotype analysis.

CCC proteins, or Cation-Chloride-Cotransporters, are large membrane proteins that are localised in the endomembrane system of cells. It has previously been shown that CCC proteins are important for pollen development and we recently found that CCC are crucial for normal root hair development in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the crop plant rice (Oryza sativa).

Root hairs and pollen tubes share common characteristics, cell growth in both is highly dependent on a functional endomembrane system, where CCC is localised. Wildtype rice, Nipponbare cultivar, will be compared to a variety without a functional CCC protein, under different growth conditions and treatments; to characterise the rice root hair and pollen phenotypes and identify the mechanisms in which CCC is involved.

Root hairs are important for nutrient and water uptake, while pollen development and growth is crucial for grain development and plant yield. The goal of this project is to increase knowledge in these two fields in rice, providing new information for improving crop plants.

You will develop skills in:

  • Stereo microscopy – effect of different treatments and growth conditions on root hairs
  • Scanning electron microscopy – detailed imaging of root hair morphology
  • Differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy, time-lapse imaging – pollen tube growth
  • Image analysis software – from image to data
  • Phenotyping stages of pollen development – techniques depend on initial findings

Key References:
Henderson, SW, Wege, S. and Gilliham, M. 2018. Plant cation-chloride cotransporters (CCC): evolutionary origins and functional insights. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19, 492.

Chen, ZC, Yamaji, N, Fuji-Kashino, M and Ma, JF 2016. A Cation-Chloride Cotransporter Gene Is Required for Cell Elongation and Osmoregulation in Rice. Plant Physiology, 171, 494–507. doi: 10.1104/pp.16.00017

Dr Stefanie Wege


Dr Stefanie Wege

Research area: Plant biology and biochemistry

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Plant Science

Tagged in Honours projects - Plant science, Honours projects - Stefanie Wege