A GDSL-motif Esterase/Lipase Affects Wax and Cutin Deposition and Controls Hull-Caryopsis Attachment in Barley

Chiara Campoli (Lead / Corresponding author), Mhmoud Eskan, Trisha Mcallister, Linsan Liu, Jennifer Shoesmith, Alan Prescott, Luke Ramsay, Robbie Waugh, Sarah McKim (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cuticle covering aerial organs of land plants is well known to protect against desiccation. Cuticles also play diverse and specialized functions, including organ separation, depending on plant and tissue. Barley shows a distinctive cuticular wax bloom enriched in β-diketones on leaf sheaths, stem nodes and internodes and inflorescences. Barley also develops a sticky surface on the outer pericarp layer of its grain fruit leading to strongly adhered hulls, ‘covered grain’, important for embryo protection and seed dispersal. While the transcription factor-encoding gene HvNUDUM (HvNUD) appears essential for adherent hulls, little is understood about how the pericarp cuticle changes during adhesion or whether changes in pericarp cuticles contribute to another phenotype where hulls partially shed, called ‘skinning’. To that end, we screened barley lines for hull adhesion defects, focussing on the Eceriferum (= waxless, cer) mutants. Here, we show that the cer-xd allele causes defective wax blooms and compromised hull adhesion, and results from a mutation removing the last 10 amino acids of the GDS(L) [Gly, Asp, Ser, (Leu)]-motif esterase/lipase HvGDSL1. We used severe and moderate HvGDSL1 alleles to show that complete HvGDSL1 function is essential for leaf blade cuticular integrity, wax bloom deposition over inflorescences and leaf sheaths and pericarp cuticular ridge formation. Expression data suggest that HvGDSL1 may regulate hull adhesion independently of HvNUD. We found high conservation of HvGDSL1 among barley germplasm, so variation in HvGDSL1 unlikely leads to grain skinning in cultivated barley. Taken together, we reveal a single locus which controls adaptive cuticular properties across different organs in barley.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberpcae041
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Early online date26 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Apr 2024


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