Richard Sibout

Richard Sibout

session, year:
2015 1st

Former fellow

Receiving laboratory:
Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

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Mobility project

Cell Wall Deposition during Vascular Tissue Differentiation in Brachypodium distachyon

The formation of vascular tissues and the differentiation of its specific cells remain poorly known in grasses. In contrast to dicotyledonous plants, grasses do not make wood, due to the absence of the vascular cambium, and thus the vascular tissues remain entirely under the control of primary meristems. The different arrangement of the primary meristems, the weak growth in thickness, the tubular, hollow nature of stems may explain the misreading of the molecular mechanism that regulate the formation of vascular tissues in grasses. However, these plants cover about 20% of the earth’s land surface and many are used for human and animal feed or industry. Moreover, grass biomass is increasingly requested for new applications such as bioplastics, construction, nanomaterials, and biofuels. In addition, the grass crops are facing many climate changes that put pressure on yields and water management. The vascular tissues form the network carrying water, nutrients and signaling molecules through the whole plant. Because they must be strong to support the plant and carry water, the xylem cells in the vasculature develop thick, lignified cell walls. The vessels’ cell walls strongly impact biomass quality and mechanical properties of plant organs. The objective of the CEWABRAVO project is to create scientific knowledge about genes and physiological mechanisms involved in the cell wall formation of different vascular cell type during the development of vascular bundles. We will integrate transcriptomic data obtained by laser microdissection to cell biology data relating to cell wall deposition and composition. This work will benefit from the large genetic resources produced by the applicant and from the expertise of the hosting lab in RAMAN/electron/confocal microscopy. In conclusion, we will propose a regulation network and identify specific groups of genes acting together for the differentiation of the different vascular cells and their cell wall formation.

Biography & research interests

I graduated from the University Laval (Quebec, Canada). After two postdoctoral positions in Montreal and Lausanne (Switzerland). I was recruited at INRA as permanent researcher and became group leader of the research team “Secondary Cell Wall” in the Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin (IJPB) at Versailles, France. I have several years of experience in the area of plant physiology, forestry and genetics and long-standing experience in vascular development and cell wall formation in Arabidopsis and Brachypodium. During my postdoc experiences, I worked in the area of light and hormone signalling and vascular differentiation. Since my recruitment, I focused my research on the biological knowledge required for developing dedicated feedstock for second generation ligno-cellulosic biofuel production and green chemistry. Specifically, we identified and characterized genes affecting saccharification, with the goal of selecting plants that are better adapted to industrial conversion processes. I am now back to France after two years at the University British Columbia in Vancouver. I recently joined the BIA unit in Nantes to study optimization of biomass degradation.


Selected publications

Yi Chou, E., Schuetz, M., Hoffmann, N., Watanabe, Y., Sibout, R. and Samuels, A.L., 2018. Distribution, Mobility and Anchoring of Lignin-Related Oxidative Enzymes in Arabidopsis Secondary Cell Walls. J Exp Bot. Doi: 10.1093/ jxb/ery067.

Sibout R, Proost S, Hansen BO, Vaid N, Giorgi FM, Ho-YueKuang S, Legée L, Cézart L, Bouchabké-Coussa O, Soulhat C, Lebris P, Roujol D, Hofte H, Jamet E, Lapierre C, Persson S, Mutwil M., 2017. Expression atlas and comparative co-expression network analyses reveal important genes involved in the formation of lignified cell wall in Brachypodium distachyon. New Phytol. 215(3):1009-1025.

Sibout, R., 2017. Crop breeding: turning a lawn into a field. Nature Plants, 3(5), 17060. Doi: 10.1038/nplants.2017.60.

Karlen DS, Zhang C, Peck ML, Smith RA, Padmakshan D, Helmich KE, Free HCA, Lee S, Smith BG, Lu F, Sedbrook JC, Sibout R, Grabber JH, Runge TM, Mysore KS, Harris PJ, Bartley LE, Ralph J., 2016. Monolignol ferulate conjugates are naturally incorporated into plant lignins. Sci Adv. 2 (10) e1600393. Doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1600393.

Sibout R, Le Bris P, Legée F, Cézard L, Renault H, Lapierre C, 2016. Structural Redesigning Arabidopsis Lignins into Alkali-Soluble Lignins through the Expression of p-Coumaroyl-CoA:Monolignol Transferase PMT. Plant Physiol. 170(3):1358-66.

Awards & patents

Oral communication awarded by SFBV 2007

Young Researcher Award, 2008 (Société Française de Biologie Végétale)


Vasculature, Lignins, Polysaccharides, Tissue Differentiation, Brachypodium., Cell Wall