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Mixed-linkage glucan (MLG) is a polysaccharide that is highly abundant in grass endosperm cell walls and present at lower amounts in other tissues. Cellulose synthase-like F (CSLF) and cellulose synthase-like H genes synthesize MLG, but it is unknown if other genes participate in the production and restructuring of MLG. Using Brachypodium distachyon transcriptional profiling data, we identified a B. distachyon trihelix family transcription factor (BdTHX1) that is highly coexpressed with the B. distachyon CSLF6 gene (BdCSLF6), which suggests that BdTHX1 is involved in the regulation of MLG biosynthesis. To determine the genes regulated by this transcription factor, we conducted chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) experiments using immature B. distachyon seeds and an anti-BdTHX1 polyclonal antibody. The ChIP-seq experiment identified the second intron of BdCSLF6 as one of the most enriched sequences. The binding of BdTHX1 to the BdCSLF6 intron sequence was confirmed using electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA). ChIP-seq also showed that a gene encoding a grass-specific glycoside hydrolase family 16 endotransglucosylase/hydrolase (BdXTH8) is bound by BdTHX1, and the binding was confirmed by EMSA. Radio-chemical transglucanase assays showed that BdXTH8 exhibits predominantly MLG:xyloglucan endotransglucosylase activity, a hetero-transglycosylation reaction, and can thus produce MLG-xyloglucan covalent bonds; it also has a lower xyloglucan:xylo-glucan endotransglucosylase activity. B. distachyon shoots regenerated from transformed calli overexpressing BdTHX1 showed an abnormal arrangement of vascular tissue and seedling-lethal phenotypes. These results indicate that the transcription factor BdTHX1 likely plays an important role in MLG biosynthesis and restructuring by regulating the expression of BdCSLF6 and BdXTH8.
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