Submitted to: Cell Wall Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/5/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Recent findings suggest that there may be greater potential for lignin modification in plants than previously considered. Viable mutant plants that are unable to produce (sufficient quantities of) normal lignin monomers due to natural or biogenetic mutations appear to utilize other plant phenols to create a functional, yet modified "lignin" polymer. These phenols do not necessarily come from the normal monolignol biosynthetic pathway and were therefore unanticipated. While this unexpected metabolic plasticity means that attempts to downregulate lignification by targeting pathway enzymes may not always be successful because plants may still make as much "lignin" from other phenolics, it provides significant opportunities for engineering lignin to create new "lignins" with different properties. The potential to induce plants to create their lignins from other components can be considered. While these components may not be totally of our choosing, it is reasonable to assume that some possibilitie within the realm of existing plant biochemistry have the potential to produce lignins that allow more extensive "exploitation" of plants. An issue remaining to be resolved is whether these polymers are true cell wall structural components.