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Planta. 2005 Mar;220(5):678-88. Epub 2004 Sep 25.

Structure of the cinnamyl-alcohol dehydrogenase gene family in rice and promoter activity of a member associated with lignification.

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  • 1Agricultural Research Service, Western Regional Research Center, United States Department of Agriculture, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, CA 94710, USA.


Analysis of lignification in rice has been facilitated by the availability of the recently completed rice genome sequence, and rice will serve as an important model for understanding the relationship of grass lignin composition to cell wall digestibility. Cinnamyl-alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) is an enzyme important in lignin biosynthesis. The rice genome contains 12 distinct genes present at nine different loci that encode products with significant similarity to CAD. The rice gene family is diverse with respect to other angiosperm and gymnosperm CAD genes isolated to date and includes one member (OsCAD6) that contains a peroxisomal targeting signal and is substantially diverged relative to other family members. Four closely related family members (OsCAD8A-D) are present at the same locus and represent the product of a localized gene duplication and inversion. Promoter-reporter gene fusions to OsCAD2, an orthologue of the CAD gene present at the bm1 (brown midrib 1) locus of maize, reveal that in rice expression is associated with vascular tissue in aerial parts of the plant and is correlated with the onset of lignification. In root tissue, expression is primarily in the cortical parenchyma adjacent to the exodermis and in vascular tissue.

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