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Plant Physiol. 2006 Mar;140(3):946-62. Epub 2006 Jan 13.

Poplar carbohydrate-active enzymes. Gene identification and expression analyses.

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Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Umeå Plant Science Center, Sweden.


Over 1,600 genes encoding carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes) in the Populus trichocarpa (Torr. & Gray) genome were identified based on sequence homology, annotated, and grouped into families of glycosyltransferases, glycoside hydrolases, carbohydrate esterases, polysaccharide lyases, and expansins. Poplar (Populus spp.) had approximately 1.6 times more CAZyme genes than Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Whereas most families were proportionally increased, xylan and pectin-related families were underrepresented and the GT1 family of secondary metabolite-glycosylating enzymes was overrepresented in poplar. CAZyme gene expression in poplar was analyzed using a collection of 100,000 expressed sequence tags from 17 different tissues and compared to microarray data for poplar and Arabidopsis. Expression of genes involved in pectin and hemicellulose metabolism was detected in all tissues, indicating a constant maintenance of transcripts encoding enzymes remodeling the cell wall matrix. The most abundant transcripts encoded sucrose synthases that were specifically expressed in wood-forming tissues along with cellulose synthase and homologs of KORRIGAN and ELP1. Woody tissues were the richest source of various other CAZyme transcripts, demonstrating the importance of this group of enzymes for xylogenesis. In contrast, there was little expression of genes related to starch metabolism during wood formation, consistent with the preferential flux of carbon to cell wall biosynthesis. Seasonally dormant meristems of poplar showed a high prevalence of transcripts related to starch metabolism and surprisingly retained transcripts of some cell wall synthesis enzymes. The data showed profound changes in CAZyme transcriptomes in different poplar tissues and pointed to some key differences in CAZyme genes and their regulation between herbaceous and woody plants.

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