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Plant Physiol. 2000 May;123(1):59-70.

Ectopic deposition of lignin in the pith of stems of two Arabidopsis mutants.

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Department of Botany, University of Georgia, Athens 30602, USA.


The biosynthesis of lignin in vascular plants is regulated both developmentally and environmentally. In the inflorescence stems of Arabidopsis, lignin is mainly deposited in the walls of xylem cells and interfascicular fiber cells during normal plant growth and development. The mechanisms controlling the spatial deposition of lignin remain unknown. By screening ethyl methanesulfonate-mutagenized populations of Arabidopsis, we have isolated two allelic elp1 (ectopic deposition of lignin in pith) mutants with altered lignin deposition patterns. In elp1 stems, lignin was ectopically deposited in the walls of pith parenchyma cells in addition to its normal deposition in the walls of xylem and fiber cells. Lignin appeared to be deposited in patches of parenchyma cells in the pith of both young and mature elp1 stems. The ectopic deposition of lignin in the pith of elp1 stems was accompanied by an increase in the activities of enzymes in the lignin biosynthetic pathway and with the ectopic expression of caffeoyl coenzyme A O-methyltransferase in pith cells. These results indicate that the ELP1 locus is involved in the repression of the lignin biosynthetic pathway in the pith. Isolation of the elp1 mutants provides a novel means with which to study the molecular mechanisms underlying the spatial control of lignification.

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