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Planta. 2007 Oct;226(5):1117-29. Epub 2007 Jun 27.

Both caffeoyl Coenzyme A 3-O-methyltransferase 1 and caffeic acid O-methyltransferase 1 are involved in redundant functions for lignin, flavonoids and sinapoyl malate biosynthesis in Arabidopsis.

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Biologie Cellulaire, INRA, 78026, Versailles cedex, France.


Two methylation steps are necessary for the biosynthesis of monolignols, the lignin precursors. Caffeic acid O-methyltransferase (COMT) O-methylates at the C5 position of the phenolic ring. COMT is responsible for the biosynthesis of sinapyl alcohol, the precursor of syringyl lignin units. The O-methylation at the C3 position of the phenolic ring involves the Caffeoyl CoA 3-O-methyltransferase (CCoAOMT). The CCoAOMT 1 gene (At4g34050) is believed to encode the enzyme responsible for the first O-methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana. A CCoAOMT1 promoter-GUS fusion and immunolocalization experiments revealed that this gene is strongly and exclusively expressed in the vascular tissues of stems and roots. An Arabidopsis T-DNA null mutant named ccomt 1 was identified and characterised. The mutant stems are slightly smaller than wild-type stems in short-day growth conditions and has collapsed xylem elements. The lignin content of the stem is low and the S/G ratio is high mainly due to fewer G units. These results suggest that this O-methyltransferase is involved in G-unit biosynthesis but does not act alone to perform this step in monolignol biosynthesis. To determine which O-methyltransferase assists CCoAOMT 1, a comt 1 ccomt1 double mutant was generated and studied. The development of comt 1 ccomt1 is arrested at the plantlet stage in our growth conditions. Lignins of these plantlets are mainly composed of p-hydroxyphenyl units. Moreover, the double mutant does not synthesize sinapoyl malate, a soluble phenolic. These results suggest that CCoAOMT 1 and COMT 1 act together to methylate the C3 position of the phenolic ring of monolignols in Arabidopsis. In addition, they are both involved in the formation of sinapoyl malate and isorhamnetin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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