Manipulation of Guaiacyl and Syringyl Monomer Biosynthesis in an Arabidopsis Cinnamyl Alcohol Dehydrogenase Mutant Results in Atypical Lignin Biosynthesis and Modified Cell Wall Structure

Release Date: 
Thursday, October 8, 2015

Abstract: Modifying lignin composition and structure is a key strategy to increase plant cell wall digestibility for biofuel production. Disruption of the genes encoding both cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenases (CADs), including CADC and CADD, in Arabidopsis thaliana results in the atypical incorporation of hydroxycinnamaldehydes into lignin. Another strategy to change lignin composition is downregulation or overexpression of ferulate 5-hydroxylase (F5H), which results in lignins enriched in guaiacyl or syringyl units, respectively. Here, we combined these approaches to generate plants enriched in coniferaldehyde-derived lignin units or lignins derived primarily from sinapaldehyde. The cadc cadd and ferulic acid hydroxylase1 (fah1) cadc cadd plants are similar in growth to wild-type plants even though their lignin compositions are drastically altered. In contrast, disruption of CAD in the F5H-overexpressing background results in dwarfism. The dwarfed phenotype observed in these plants does not appear to be related to collapsed xylem, a hallmark of many other lignin-deficient dwarf mutants. cadc cadd, fah1 cadc cadd, and cadd F5H-overexpressing plants have increased enzyme-catalyzed cell wall digestibility. Given that these CAD-deficient plants have similar total lignin contents and only differ in the amounts of hydroxycinnamaldehyde monomer incorporation, these results suggest that hydroxycinnamaldehyde content is a more important determinant of digestibility than lignin content.

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