Ms Lungile Mabuza
I obtained a BSc degree in human physiology, genetics and psychology in 2016 from the University of Pretoria. I joined FABI in 2017, where I completed my honours degree in Genetics within the forest molecular genetics (FMG) group, under the supervision of Dr S.G Hussey. In my honours project, we used Populus trees as a reverse genetics model to study the long-term phenotypic effects of dominant repression of EgrMYB103.
Lignocellulose biomass (wood) provides a renewable resource for the production of pulp, paper and various biomaterials. Eucalypts are one of the most widely planted trees because of their fast growth, adaptability to diverse ecological systems and desirable woody traits. The structurally complex secondary cell walls (SCWs) that form the bulk of wood are composed of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, the biosynthesis of which is subject to strict regulation by a three-tiered transcriptional network occupied by mainly NAC (NAM, ATAF1/2 and CUC2) and MYB transcription factors. Recently basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors, characterized by a basic DNA binding and nuclear localization region as well as a leucine zipper dimerization domain, have also been implicated in SCW regulation. Plant bZIPs regulate diverse functions, physiological and development processes, and abiotic and biotic stress responses, but their involvement in SCW regulation remains tenuous. In my master's project, we aim to Investigate SCW related molecular functions of bZIP transcription factors in transgenic Arabidopsis. This study will contribute to the basic knowledge about the function of these transcription factors and the transcripts they regulate.