Navigation Links
Discovery may pave way to genetically enhanced biofuel crops
Date:12/20/2012

Best known for its ability to transform simmering pots of sugared fruit into marmalades and jams, pectin is a major constituent of plant cell walls and the middle lamella, the sticky layer that glues neighboring plant cells together. Pectin imparts strength and elasticity to the plant and forms a protective barrier against the environment. Several different kinds of pectic compounds combine to form pectin. The relative proportion of each of these depends on the plant species, location within the plant, and environment. Pectic compounds decorated with β-1,4-galactan (a chain of six-carbon sugars) are of considerable interest to the biofuels industry, because six-carbon sugars are readily converted into ethanol (biofuel) by fermenting microorganisms. A new study published in The Plant Cell reveals a novel enzyme involved in the production of β-1,4-galactans. This enzyme may be used to engineer plants with more desirable attributes for conversion to biofuel.

The major enzymes that catalyze pectin production are hard to pin down. Close to 70 enzymes are predicted to underlie pectin synthesis in plants; only about three of these have been identified definitively. Knowledge of these enzymes could be used to boost the production of pectins with desirable characteristics.

A team of researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, University of California, Berkeley, and Technical University of Denmark set out to identify the enzymes that catalyze the production of β-1,4-galactan. They screened a database of enzymes for galactosyltransferases, the enzymes that link six-carbon galactose sugars into a chain. They found a family of proteins, named GT92, that are present in some animals and all plants sequenced to date. The authors found that mutations in each of the three genes encoding the GT92 proteins in the model plant Arabidopsis led to a reduction in β-1,4-galactan, whereas producing more of one of these proteins led to a 50% increase in β-1,4-galactan levels. In many cases, modifying the composition of plant cell wall components leads to alterations in growth or stature. Strikingly, all of the plant lines overproducing this important six-carbon sugar appeared to be healthy. Biochemical tests of the enzymatic properties of purified Arabidopsis GT92 protein supported the hypothesis that GT92 proteins are important enzymes for β-1,4-galactan synthesis in plants. This means that crops engineered to produce increased levels of GT92 proteins might contain more easily fermentable sugars, thereby potentially boosting the efficiency of biofuel production.

According to lead scientist Henrik Scheller, "Bioenergy crops with high β-1,4-galactan content would have significant advantages for the biofuels industry and we now have the knowledge to specifically increase β-1,4-galactan content in the biomass of cell walls. This breakthrough was made possible by a collaboration involving members of the Feedstocks Division at JBEI and our collaborators in Denmark. We are very excited about this result and look forward to testing it in a bioenergy crop such as switchgrass or poplar trees".


'/>"/>

Contact: Kathy R. Munkvold
kmunkvold@aspb.org
301-296-0914
American Society of Plant Biologists
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. LSUHSC research discovery provides therapeutic target for ALS
2. Discovery of pathway leading to depression reveals new drug targets
3. Discovery of 100 million-year-old regions of DNA shows short cut to crop science advances
4. Discovery of molecular pathway of Alzheimers disease reveals new drug targets
5. The Journal of Biological Chemistry commemorates an important 1987 discovery
6. GW Research chosen as paper of the week for blood coagulation discovery
7. NIH-funded genetic sequencing tool speeds drug discovery, disease diagnostics
8. Discovery of reprogramming signature may help further stem cell-based regenerative medicine research
9. King Richard III search in new phase after discovery has potential to rewrite history
10. New discovery related to gum disease
11. Cant smell anything? This discovery may give you hope
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Discovery may pave way to genetically enhanced biofuel crops
(Date:1/4/2017)... 4, 2017  CES 2017 – Valencell , ... today announced the launch of two new versions ... highly-accurate biometric sensor modules that incorporate the best ... and expertise. The two new designs include Benchmark ... hearables, and Benchmark BW2.0, a 2-LED version of ...
(Date:12/22/2016)... 2016  As part of its longstanding mission to improve ... company, recently released its latest children,s book, titled ... on the topics of inheritance and variation of traits that ... in elementary school classrooms in the US. ... Ariana Killoran , whose previous book with 23andMe, ...
(Date:12/20/2016)... 2016 The rising popularity of mobility ... is stoking significant interest in keyless access systems. ... low energy (BLE), biometrics and near-field communication (NFC) ... of wireless technologies in the automotive industry. This ... access systems opens the market to specialist companies ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... -- Shareholder rights law firm Johnson & Weaver, LLP ... of CoLucid Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCD ) ... sale of the Company to Eli Lilly and Company. ... for the acute treatment of migraines. On ... definitive merger agreement with Eli Lilly. Under the terms ...
(Date:1/18/2017)...  Market Research Future published a half-cooked research report on Global ... at a CAGR of 12% during the period 2016 to 2022. ... ... cell division without any control. These abnormal cells have the ability ... cells can spread to other parts of the body through the ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... Jan. 17, 2017  An international team of ... and St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre/University of ... an unmet health need affecting nearly one in ... Clinical Investigation, their results identify small molecule drugs ... reverse neuronal injury in animal models of metabolic, ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... Noom Inc. , the leader ... offer fully Spanish behavior change programs that address ... prevention and healthy weight management programs  have ... interventions among Hispanic Americans who are at increased ... database, program-specific curriculum content and program features are ...
Breaking Biology Technology: