Targeted mutation of barley (1,3;1,4)‐β‐glucan synthases reveals complex relationships between the storage and cell wall polysaccharide content Academic Article uri icon


  • Barley (Hordeum vulgare L) grain is comparatively rich in (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan, a source of fermentable dietary fibre that protects against various human health conditions. However, low grain (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan content is preferred for brewing and distilling. We took a reverse genetics approach, using CRISPR/Cas9 to generate mutations in members of the Cellulose synthase-like (Csl) gene superfamily that encode known (HvCslF6 and HvCslH1) and putative (HvCslF3 and HvCslF9) (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan synthases. Resultant mutations ranged from single amino acid (aa) substitutions to frameshift mutations causing premature stop codons, and led to specific differences in grain morphology, composition and (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan content. (1,3;1,4)-β-Glucan was absent in the grain of cslf6 knockout lines, whereas cslf9 knockout lines had similar (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan content to wild-type (WT). However, cslf9 mutants showed changes in the abundance of other cell-wall-related monosaccharides compared with WT. Thousand grain weight (TGW), grain length, width and surface area were altered in cslf6 knockouts, and to a lesser extent TGW in cslf9 knockouts. cslf3 and cslh1 mutants had no effect on grain (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan content. Our data indicate that multiple members of the CslF/H family fulfil important functions during grain development but, with the exception of HvCslF6, do not impact the abundance of (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan in mature grain.


  • Garcia‐Gimenez, Guillermo
  • Barakate, Abdellah
  • Smith, Pauline
  • Stephens, Jennifer
  • Khor, Shi F
  • Doblin, Monika S
  • Hao, Pengfei
  • Bacic, Antony
  • Fincher, Geoffrey B
  • Burton, Rachel A
  • Waugh, Robbie
  • Tucker, Matthew R
  • Houston, Kelly

publication date

  • 2020