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Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, 38:269 | Cite as

Building the wall: recent advances in understanding lignin metabolism in grasses

  • Igor CesarinoEmail author
  • Marcella Siqueira Simões
  • Michael dos Santos Brito
  • Amanda Fanelli
  • Tatiane da Franca Silva
  • Elisson Romanel
Review

Abstract

Secondary cell walls account for the majority of total plant biomass and, as mostly composed of polysaccharides, constitute a promising source of fermentable sugars for the production of biofuels and biomaterials. However, the presence of the aromatic polymer lignin largely precludes the release of monosaccharides during enzymatic hydrolysis of cell wall polysaccharides in the biorefinery. Therefore, it is essential to unraveling the molecular mechanisms underlying lignin metabolism in order to better exploit the potential of lignocellulosic biomass. In the context of the bioeconomy, grasses emerge as a prominent lignocellulosic feedstock due to their high yield potential for biomass production. Still, many aspects of lignin metabolism in grasses, including transcriptional regulation, biosynthesis and polymerization, remain poorly understood, in contrast to eudicots species. Moreover, grasses differ considerably from eudicots in vascular patterning and cell wall composition, suggesting the presence of many grass-specific molecular and biochemical mechanisms that are not found in eudicots and whose knowledge cannot be extrapolated from data obtained with eudicot model plants. Here, we summarize the most recent advances on structural features of grass lignin and on functional characterization of genes directly involved in diverse aspects of lignin metabolism in grasses.

Keywords

Grasses Secondary cell wall Lignin Transcriptional regulation Bioengineering 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Marvin was used for drawing the chemical structures shown in Fig. 1, Marvin 15.3.30 (version number), 2015, ChemAxon (http://www.chemaxon.com). Igor Cesarino acknowledges the Foundation for Research of the State of São Paulo (FAPESP) for the BIOEN Young Investigators Awards research fellowship (Grant 2015/02527-1). Marcella Siqueira Simões is indebted to FAPESP for a master fellowship (Grant 2015/18361-5). Michael dos Santos Brito thanks FAPESP for the financial support (Grant 2014/08468-4) and Young Investigators Awards research fellowship (Grant 2014/23017-9). Elisson Romanel acknowledges FAPESP for the financial support (Grants 2014/17486-6 and 2014/06923-6) and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for the financial support (Grant 444912/2014-2). Tatiane da Franca Silva thanks CNPq for the financial support (Grant 448042/2014-2). Amanda Fanelli is indebted to CNPq for a doctorate fellowship (Grant 142474/2015-0).

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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Centro Avançado da Pesquisa Tecnológica do Agronegócio de Cana, CP 206Ribeirão PretoBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de Biotecnologia, Escola de Engenharia de LorenaUniversidade de São Paulo (EEL-USP), CP 116LorenaBrazil

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