Norris, Joanna

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences




cellulose, CESA, Physcomitrella patens, mutants, moss


In order to study the cellulose deposition mechanisms of plants like Physcomitrella patens, understanding the function of CesA genes is crucial. The CesA genes, better known as the Cellulose Synthase gene superfamily, are responsible for the formation of cellulose in developing plants. Cellulose is an important biological molecule necessary for proper plant growth, particularly in non-vascular plants such as P. patens. There are seven known CesA genes in P. patens: CesA 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10. The effects of these cellulose synthase genes on the developing plant can be observed by removing specific CesA genes from the moss genome, resulting in a “knockout” mutant. My goal for this project is to successfully phenotype specific CesA4 KO mutant moss strains. In order to see whether the absent CesA gene has an effect on cellulose formation and deposition during plant development, the rhizoids and caulonemal filaments of mutant moss colonies are compared to those of the wild type Gd11 moss using a dissection microscope. If abnormalities are observed, then the phenotype of the moss has been altered and the knocked-out CesA gene has an effect on moss development.

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