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Planta. 2011 Sep;234(3):515-26. doi: 10.1007/s00425-011-1422-z. Epub 2011 May 3.

Deep sequencing of voodoo lily (Amorphophallus konjac): an approach to identify relevant genes involved in the synthesis of the hemicellulose glucomannan.

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Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California-Berkeley, 130 Calvin Laboratory MC 5230, Berkeley, CA, USA.


A Roche 454 cDNA deep sequencing experiment was performed on a developing corm of Amorphophallus konjac--also known as voodoo lily. The dominant storage polymer in the corm of this plant is the polysaccharide glucomannan, a hemicellulose known to exist in the cell walls of higher plants and a major component of plant biomass derived from softwoods. A total of 246 mega base pairs of sequence data was obtained from which 4,513 distinct contigs were assembled. Within this voodoo lily expressed sequence tag collection genes representing the carbohydrate related pathway of glucomannan biosynthesis were identified, including sucrose metabolism, nucleotide sugar conversion pathways for the formation of activated precursors as well as a putative glucomannan synthase. In vivo expression of the putative glucomannan synthase and subsequent in vitro activity assays unambiguously demonstrate that the enzyme has indeed glucomannan mannosyl- and glucosyl transferase activities. Based on the expressed sequence tag analysis hitherto unknown pathways for the synthesis of GDP-glucose, a necessary precursor for glucomannan biosynthesis, could be proposed. Moreover, the results highlight transcriptional bottlenecks for the synthesis of this hemicellulose.

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