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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2002 Jun;5(3):224-9.

Rewriting the lignin roadmap.

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Department of Biochemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


Considerable interest in lignin biosynthesis has been fueled by the many roles that lignin plays in development and in resistance to biotic and abiotic stress, as well as its importance to industry and agriculture. Although the pathway leading to the lignin polymer has been studied for decades, new insights into the enzymes of the pathway have required a complete re-evaluation of how we think lignin precursors are synthesized. Although free hydroxycinnamic acids have long been thought to be key intermediates, it has become apparent that many of the hydroxylation and methylation steps in the pathway occur instead at the level of hydroxycinnamic acid esters, and their corresponding aldehydes and alcohols.

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