A promoter-trap screen allowed us to identify an Arabidopsis line expressing GUS in the root vascular tissues. T-DNA border sequencing showed that the line was mutated in the caffeic acid O-methyltransferase 1 gene (AtOMT1) and therefore deficient in OMT1 activity. Atomt1 is a knockout mutant and the expression profile of the AtOMT1 gene has been determined as well as the consequences of the mutation on lignins, on soluble phenolics, on cell wall digestibility, and on the expression of the genes involved in monolignol biosynthesis. In this mutant and relative to the wild type, lignins lack syringyl (S) units and contain more 5-hydroxyguaiacyl units (5-OH-G), the precursors of S-units. The sinapoyl ester pool is modified with a two-fold reduction of sinapoyl-malate in the leaves and stems of mature plants as well as in seedlings. In addition, LC-MS analysis of the soluble phenolics extracted from the seedlings reveals the occurrence of unusual derivatives assigned to 5-OH-feruloyl malate and to 5-OH-feruloyl glucose. Therefore, AtOMT1 enzymatic activity appears to be involved not only in lignin formation but also in the biosynthesis of sinapate esters. In addition, a deregulation of other monolignol biosynthetic gene expression can be observed in the Atomt1 mutant. A poplar cDNA encoding a caffeic acid OMT (PtOMT1) was successfully used to complement the Atomt1 mutant and restored both the level of S units and of sinapate esters to the control level. However, the over-expression of PtOMT1 in wild-type Arabidopsis did not increase the S-lignin content, suggesting that OMT is not a limiting enzyme for S-unit biosynthesis.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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