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Title: Overexpression of a domain of unknown function 266-containing protein results in high cellulose content, reduced recalcitrance, and enhanced plant growth in the bioenergy crop Populus

Abstract

Domain of Unknown Function 266 (DUF266) is a plant-specific domain. DUF266-containing proteins (DUF266 proteins) have been categorized as ‘not classified glycosyltransferases (GTnc)’ due to amino acid similarity with GTs. However, little is known about the function of DUF266 proteins. As a result, Phylogenetic analysis revealed that DUF266 proteins are only present in the land plants including moss and lycophyte. We report the functional characterization of one member of DUF266 proteins in Populus, PdDUF266A. PdDUF266A was ubiquitously expressed with high abundance in the xylem. In Populus transgenic plants overexpressing PdDUF266A ( OXPdDUF266A), the glucose and cellulose contents were significantly higher, while the lignin content was lower than that in the wild type. Degree of polymerization of cellulose in OXPdDUF266A transgenic plants was also higher, whereas cellulose crystallinity index remained unchanged. Gene expression analysis indicated that cellulose biosynthesis-related genes such as CESA and SUSY were upregulated in mature leaf and xylem of OXPdDUF266A transgenic plants. Moreover, PdDUF266A overexpression resulted in an increase of biomass production. Their glucose contents and biomass phenotypes were further validated via heterologous expression of PdDUF266A in Arabidopsis. Results from saccharification treatment demonstrated that the rate of sugar release was increased by approximately 38% in the OXPdDUF266A transgenic plants.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [3];  [3];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [4];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  3. ArborGen Inc., Ridgeville, SC (United States)
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). BioEnergy Science Center (BESC); Joint Institute for Biological Sciences (JIBS)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1356900
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Biotechnology for Biofuels
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1754-6834
Publisher:
BioMed Central
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; DUF266; recalcitrance; Populus; bioenergy; biofuel; biomass; cell wall; cellulose; sugar release

Citation Formats

Yang, Yongil, Yoo, Chang Geun, Guo, Hao -Bo, Rottmann, William, Winkeler, Kimberly A., Collins, Cassandra M., Gunter, Lee E., Jawdy, Sara S., Yang, Xiaohan, Guo, Hong, Pu, Yunqiao, Ragauskas, Arthur J., Tuskan, Gerald A., and Chen, Jin -Gui. Overexpression of a domain of unknown function 266-containing protein results in high cellulose content, reduced recalcitrance, and enhanced plant growth in the bioenergy crop Populus. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1186/s13068-017-0760-x.
Yang, Yongil, Yoo, Chang Geun, Guo, Hao -Bo, Rottmann, William, Winkeler, Kimberly A., Collins, Cassandra M., Gunter, Lee E., Jawdy, Sara S., Yang, Xiaohan, Guo, Hong, Pu, Yunqiao, Ragauskas, Arthur J., Tuskan, Gerald A., & Chen, Jin -Gui. Overexpression of a domain of unknown function 266-containing protein results in high cellulose content, reduced recalcitrance, and enhanced plant growth in the bioenergy crop Populus. United States. doi:10.1186/s13068-017-0760-x.
Yang, Yongil, Yoo, Chang Geun, Guo, Hao -Bo, Rottmann, William, Winkeler, Kimberly A., Collins, Cassandra M., Gunter, Lee E., Jawdy, Sara S., Yang, Xiaohan, Guo, Hong, Pu, Yunqiao, Ragauskas, Arthur J., Tuskan, Gerald A., and Chen, Jin -Gui. Thu . "Overexpression of a domain of unknown function 266-containing protein results in high cellulose content, reduced recalcitrance, and enhanced plant growth in the bioenergy crop Populus". United States. doi:10.1186/s13068-017-0760-x. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1356900.
@article{osti_1356900,
title = {Overexpression of a domain of unknown function 266-containing protein results in high cellulose content, reduced recalcitrance, and enhanced plant growth in the bioenergy crop Populus},
author = {Yang, Yongil and Yoo, Chang Geun and Guo, Hao -Bo and Rottmann, William and Winkeler, Kimberly A. and Collins, Cassandra M. and Gunter, Lee E. and Jawdy, Sara S. and Yang, Xiaohan and Guo, Hong and Pu, Yunqiao and Ragauskas, Arthur J. and Tuskan, Gerald A. and Chen, Jin -Gui},
abstractNote = {Domain of Unknown Function 266 (DUF266) is a plant-specific domain. DUF266-containing proteins (DUF266 proteins) have been categorized as ‘not classified glycosyltransferases (GTnc)’ due to amino acid similarity with GTs. However, little is known about the function of DUF266 proteins. As a result, Phylogenetic analysis revealed that DUF266 proteins are only present in the land plants including moss and lycophyte. We report the functional characterization of one member of DUF266 proteins in Populus, PdDUF266A. PdDUF266A was ubiquitously expressed with high abundance in the xylem. In Populus transgenic plants overexpressing PdDUF266A (OXPdDUF266A), the glucose and cellulose contents were significantly higher, while the lignin content was lower than that in the wild type. Degree of polymerization of cellulose in OXPdDUF266A transgenic plants was also higher, whereas cellulose crystallinity index remained unchanged. Gene expression analysis indicated that cellulose biosynthesis-related genes such as CESA and SUSY were upregulated in mature leaf and xylem of OXPdDUF266A transgenic plants. Moreover, PdDUF266A overexpression resulted in an increase of biomass production. Their glucose contents and biomass phenotypes were further validated via heterologous expression of PdDUF266A in Arabidopsis. Results from saccharification treatment demonstrated that the rate of sugar release was increased by approximately 38% in the OXPdDUF266A transgenic plants.},
doi = {10.1186/s13068-017-0760-x},
journal = {Biotechnology for Biofuels},
number = 1,
volume = 10,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Mar 23 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Thu Mar 23 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

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Cited by: 3works
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  • The inherent recalcitrance of woody bioenergy feedstocks is a major challenge for their use as a source of second-generation biofuel. Secondary cell walls that constitute the majority of hardwood biomass are rich in cellulose, xylan, and lignin. The interactions among these polymers prevent facile accessibility and deconstruction by enzymes and chemicals. Plant biomass that can with minimal pretreatment be degraded into sugars is required to produce renewable biofuels in a cost-effective manner. The following are the results: GAUT12/IRX8 is a putative glycosyltransferase proposed to be involved in secondary cell wall glucuronoxylan and/or pectin biosynthesis based on concomitant reductions of bothmore » xylan and the pectin homogalacturonan (HG) in Arabidopsis irx8 mutants. Two GAUT12 homologs exist in Populus trichocarpa, PtGAUT12.1 and PtGAUT12.2. Knockdown expression of both genes simultaneously has been shown to reduce xylan content in Populus wood. We tested the proposition that RNA interference (RNAi) downregulation of GAUT12.1 alone would lead to increased sugar release in Populus wood, that is, reduced recalcitrance, based on the hypothesis that GAUT12 synthesizes a wall structure required for deposition of xylan and that cell walls with less xylan and/or modified cell wall architecture would have reduced recalcitrance. Using an RNAi approach, we generated 11 Populus deltoides transgenic lines with 50 to 67% reduced PdGAUT12.1 transcript expression compared to wild type (WT) and vector controls. Ten of the eleven RNAi lines yielded 4 to 8% greater glucose release upon enzymatic saccharification than the controls. The PdGAUT12.1 knockdown (PdGAUT12.1-KD) lines also displayed 12 to 52% and 12 to 44% increased plant height and radial stem diameter, respectively, compared to the controls. Knockdown of PdGAUT12.1 resulted in a 25 to 47% reduction in galacturonic acid and 17 to 30% reduction in xylose without affecting total lignin content, revealing that in Populus wood as in Arabidopsis, GAUT12 affects both pectin and xylan formation. Finally, analyses of the sugars present in sequential cell wall extracts revealed a reduction of glucuronoxylan and pectic HG and rhamnogalacturonan in extracts from PdGAUT12.1-KD lines.« less
  • DUF1218 is a land plant-specific innovation and has previously been shown to be associated with cell wall biology, vasculature patterning and abiotic/biotic stress response. The Arabidopsis genome encodes 15 members, two of which (At1g31720 and At4g27435) are preferentially expressed in the secondary cell wall depositing inflorescence stems. To further our understanding of the roles of DUF1218-containing proteins in secondary cell wall biology, we functionally characterized At1g31720 (herein referred to as MODIFYING WALL LIGNIN-1 or MWL-1). Since related gene family members may contribute to functional redundancy, we also characterized At4g19370 ( MWL-2), the most closely related gene to MWL-1 in themore » protein family. Subcellular localization revealed that both Arabidopsis proteins are targeted to the cell periphery. The single T-DNA knockout lines, mwl-1 and mwl-2, and independent overexpression lines showed no significant differences in plant growth or changes in total lignin content relative to wild-type (WT) control plants. However, the double homozygous mutant, mwl-1/ mwl-2, had smaller rosettes with a significant decrease in rosette fresh weight and stem height relative to the WT control at four weeks and six weeks, respectively. Moreover, mwl-1/ mwl-2 showed a significant reduction in total lignin content (by ca. 11% relative to WT) and an increase in syringyl/guaiacyl (S/G) monomer ratio relative to the control plants. Lastly, our study has identified two additional members of the DUF1218 family in Arabidopsis as novel contributors to secondary cell wall biology, specifically lignin biosynthesis, and these proteins appear to function redundantly.« less
  • Background The inherent recalcitrance of woody bioenergy feedstocks is a major challenge for their use as a source of second-generation biofuel. Secondary cell walls that constitute the majority of hardwood biomass are rich in cellulose, xylan, and lignin. The interactions among these polymers prevent facile accessibility and deconstruction by enzymes and chemicals. Plant biomass that can with minimal pretreatment be degraded into sugars is required to produce renewable biofuels in a cost-effective manner. Results GAUT12/IRX8 is a putative glycosyltransferase proposed to be involved in secondary cell wall glucuronoxylan and/or pectin biosynthesis based on concomitant reductions of both xylan and themore » pectin homogalacturonan (HG) in Arabidopsis irx8 mutants. Two GAUT12 homologs exist in Populus trichocarpa, PtGAUT12.1 and PtGAUT12.2. Knockdown expression of both genes simultaneously has been shown to reduce xylan content in Populus wood. We tested the proposition that RNA interference (RNAi) downregulation of GAUT12.1 alone would lead to increased sugar release in Populus wood, that is, reduced recalcitrance, based on the hypothesis that GAUT12 synthesizes a wall structure required for deposition of xylan and that cell walls with less xylan and/or modified cell wall architecture would have reduced recalcitrance. Using an RNAi approach, we generated 11 Populus deltoides transgenic lines with 50 to 67% reduced PdGAUT12.1 transcript expression compared to wild type (WT) and vector controls. Ten of the eleven RNAi lines yielded 4 to 8% greater glucose release upon enzymatic saccharification than the controls. The PdGAUT12.1 knockdown (PdGAUT12.1-KD) lines also displayed 12 to 52% and 12 to 44% increased plant height and radial stem diameter, respectively, compared to the controls. Knockdown of PdGAUT12.1 resulted in a 25 to 47% reduction in galacturonic acid and 17 to 30% reduction in xylose without affecting total lignin content, revealing that in Populus wood as in Arabidopsis, GAUT12 affects both pectin and xylan formation. Analyses of the sugars present in sequential cell wall extracts revealed a reduction of glucuronoxylan and pectic HG and rhamnogalacturonan in extracts from PdGAUT12.1-KD lines. Conclusions The results show that downregulation of GAUT12.1 leads to a reduction in a population of xylan and pectin during wood formation and to reduced recalcitrance, more easily extractable cell walls, and increased growth in Populus.« less
  • The development of fast-growing hardwood trees as a source of lignocellulosic biomass for biofuel and biomaterial production requires a thorough understanding of the plant cell wall structure and function that underlie the inherent recalcitrance properties of woody biomass. Downregulation of GAUT12.1 in Populus deltoides was recently reported to result in improved biomass saccharification, plant growth, and biomass yield. To further understand GAUT12.1 function in biomass recalcitrance and plant growth, here we report the effects of P. trichocarpa GAUT12.1 overexpression in P. deltoides. Increasing GAUT12.1 transcript expression by 7-49% in P. deltoides PtGAUT12.1-overexpression (OE) lines resulted in a nearly complete oppositemore » biomass saccharification and plant growth phenotype to that observed previously in PdGAUT12.1-knockdown (KD) lines. This also included significantly reduced glucose, xylose, and total sugar release (12-13%), plant height (6-54%), stem diameter (8-40%), and overall total aerial biomass yield (48-61%) in 3-month-old, greenhouse-grown PtGAUT12.1-OE lines compared to controls. Total lignin content was unaffected by the gene overexpression. Importantly, selected PtGAUT12.1-OE lines retained the recalcitrance and growth phenotypes upon growth for 9 months in the greenhouse and 2.8 years in the field. PtGAUT12.1-OE plants had significantly smaller leaves with lower relative water content, and significantly reduced stem wood xylem cell numbers and size. At the cell wall level, xylose and galacturonic acid contents increased markedly in total cell walls as well as in soluble and insoluble cell wall extracts, consistent with increased amounts of xylan and homogalacturonan in the PtGAUT12.1-OE lines. This led to increased cell wall recalcitrance, as manifested by the 9-15% reduced amounts of recovered extractable wall materials and 8-15% greater amounts of final insoluble pellet in the PtGAUT12.1-OE lines compared to controls. The combined phenotype and chemotype data from P. deltoides PtGAUT12.1-OE and PdGAUT12.1-KD transgenics clearly establish GAUT12.1 as a recalcitrance- and growth-associated gene in poplar. Overall, the data support the hypothesis that GAUT12.1 synthesizes either an HG-containing primer for xylan synthesis or an HG glycan required for proper xylan deposition, anchoring, and/or architecture in the wall, and the possibility of HG and xylan glycans being connected to each other by a base-sensitive covalent linkage.« less