skip to main content

DOE PAGESDOE PAGES

Title: Exploiting Natural Variation to Uncover an Alkene Biosynthetic Enzyme in Poplar

Alkenes are linear hydrocarbons with one or more double bonds. Despite their potential as biofuels and precursors for specialty chemicals, the underlying biochemistry and genetics of alkene biosynthesis in plants remain elusive. Here, we report on a screen of natural accessions of poplar (Populus trichocarpa), revealing that the leaf cuticular waxes are predominantly composed of alkanes and alkenes. Interestingly, the accumulation of alkenes increases with leaf development, is limited to the abaxial side of the leaf, and is impaired in a few accessions. Among other genes, a b-ketoacyl CoA synthase gene (PotriKCS1) was downregulated in leaves from non-alkene-producing accessions. We demonstrated biochemically that PotriKCS1 elongates monounsaturated fatty acids and is responsible for the recruitment of unsaturated substrates to the cuticular wax. Moreover, we found significant associations between the presence of alkenes and tree growth and resistance to leaf spot. These findings highlight the crucial role of cuticular waxes as the first point of contact with the environment, and they provide a foundation for engineering long-chain monounsaturated oils in other species.
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [1] ;  [3] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada). Department of Wood Science
  2. Agricultural Research Council, Onderstepoort, Pretoria (South Africa). Biotechnology Platform
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Corn and Soybean Research, Wooster, OH (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
FC02-07ER64494
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Plant Cell
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 29; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 1040-4651
Publisher:
American Society of Plant Biologists
Research Org:
Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
OSTI Identifier:
1427575