U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

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Protein Complex Within Plant Cell Wall Associated with Secondary Cell-Wall Synthesis
Published: November 30, 2011
Posted: January 12, 2012

The plant cell wall polysaccharide pectin is often associated with the tissue softening that occurs during fruit ripening. However, this complex compound is also involved in secondary cell-wall synthesis in grasses and woody plants, helping to give the plant rigidity, but also impeding the deconstruction of plant biomass and hence its conversion into biofuels. Researchers at the DOE BioEnergy Research Center (BESC) have discovered that the pectin-synthesizing enzyme GAUT1 forms an unusual, two-protein complex with a similar protein (GAUT7) that constitutes a critical part of a pectin-synthesizing protein complex. They also showed that this complex plays a role in secondary cell-wall synthesis. Manipulating the formation of this complex may provide a way to modify secondary cell walls, which could either increase available biomass or improve its digestibility for biofuel production.

Reference: Atmodjo, M. A., Y. Sakuragi, X. Zhu, A. J. Burrell, S. S. Mohanty, J. A. Atwood III, R. Orlando, H. V. Scheller, and D. Mohnen. 2011. "Galacturonosyltransferase (GAUT)1 and GAUT7 Are the Core of a Plant Cell Wall Pectin Biosynthetic Homogalacturonan: Galacturonosyltransferase Complex," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108(50), 20225-230. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.11128116108. (Reference link)

Contact: Cathy Ronning, SC-23.2, (301) 903-9549
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Plant Systems and Feedstocks, Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

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