Brachypodium distachyon as a Model Species to Understand Grass Cell Walls
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The utilization of Brachypodium distachyon as a model system has allowed for a synthesis of known aspects of grass cell wall biosynthesis and provided a platform to investigate new areas of the field. Compositional analysis of B. distachyon cell walls shows many similarities with the walls of major food and energy crop species. This chapter presents a summary of these comparisons, as well as a review of work done in B. distachyon characterizing genes involved with cell wall biogenesis. Aspects of lignin biosynthesis and polymerization, cellulose and hemicellulose synthesis, and transcriptional regulation of secondary walls have all been characterized in B. distachyon, with genetic, biochemical, and phenotypic data outlined herein. Finally, the use of B. distachyon in identifying saccharification and digestibility traits relatable to biofuel feedstock quality in grasses are discussed. Taken together, the reviewed material demonstrates the utility of B. distachyon as a model for grass cell wall research, highlighting known and novel facets of cell wall biosynthesis.
KeywordsBrachypodium distachyon Lignin Cellulose Mixed linkage glucan Cell wall Grasses Biofuel feedstock Digestibility Saccharification
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