|KARLEN, STEVEN - University Of Wisconsin|
|ZHANG, CHENGCHENG - University Of Oklahoma|
|PECK, MATTHEW - University Of Oklahoma|
|SMITH, REBECCA - University Of Wisconsin|
|PADMAKSHAN, DHARSHANA - University Of Wisconsin|
|HELMICH, KATE - University Of Wisconsin|
|FREE, HEATHER C - University Of Auckland|
|LEE, SEONGHEE - Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc|
|SMITH, BRONWEN - University Of Auckland|
|LU, FACHUANG - University Of Wisconsin|
|SEDBROOK, JOHN - Illinois State University|
|SIBOUT, RICHARD - Inra, Génétique Animale Et Biologie Intégrative , Jouy-En-josas, France|
|RUNGE, TROY - University Of Wisconsin|
|MYSORE, KIRANKUMAR - Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc|
|HARRIS, PHILIP - University Of Auckland|
|BARTLEY, LAURA - University Of Oklahoma|
|RALPH, JOHN - University Of Wisconsin|
Submitted to: Science Advances
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2016
Publication Date: 10/14/2016
Citation: Karlen, S.D., Zhang, C., Peck, M.L., Smith, R.A., Padmakshan, D., Helmich, K.E., Free, H.A., Lee, S., Smith, B.G., Lu, F., Sedbrook, J.C., Sibout, R., Grabber, J.H., Runge, T.M., Mysore, K.S., Harris, P.J., Bartley, L.E., Ralph, J. 2016. Monolignol ferulate conjugates are naturally incorporated into plant lignins. Science Advances. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1600393.
Interpretive Summary: Research into the conversion of plants to liquid fuels and coproducts has focused primarily on flowering plants, like grasses and trees. Lignin is about 18-30% of their biomass and is essential to the plant but limits our access to fibers and chemical energy stored in plant cell walls. Recently, the chemical composition of lignin in poplar trees was engineered so that mild chemical treatment could deconstruct the lignin. Here, we report the discovery that the chemical composition of the engineered lignin is native to many, but not all, of the flowering plants. This information is useful to scientists researching ways to significantly reduce the costs and improve the energy balance of converting biomass to liquid fuels, cellulose pulps, and other value-added products.
Technical Abstract: Angiosperms represent the majority of terrestrial plants and are the primary research focus for conversion of biomass to liquid fuels and coproducts. Lignin limits our access to fibers and represents a large fraction of the chemical energy stored in plant cell walls. Recently, the incorporation of monolignol ferulates into lignin polymer was accomplished via engineering of an exotic transferase into commercially relevant poplar. Herein, we report that various angiosperm species might have convergently evolved to natively produce lignins that incorporate monolignol ferulate conjugates. We show that this activity may be accomplished by a BAHD feruloyl-CoA:monolignol transferase, OsFMT1 (AT5) in rice and its orthologs in other monocots.