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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

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.
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  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:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Biotechnology for Biofuels
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1754-6834
BioMed Central
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)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; DUF266; recalcitrance; Populus; bioenergy; biofuel; biomass; cell wall; cellulose; sugar release
OSTI Identifier: