Knockdown of a Laccase in Populus deltoides Confers Altered Cell Wall Chemistry and Increased Sugar Release

Erica Gjersing, Anthony Bryan, Sara Jawdy, Lee Gunter, Maud Hinchee, Kimberly Winkeler, Cassandra Collins, Nancy Engle, Timothy Tschaplinski, Xiaohan Yang, Gerald Tuskan, Wellington Muchero, Jin-Gui Chen, Robert Sykes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus Citations


Plant laccases are thought to function in the oxidation of monolignols which leads to higher order lignin formation. Only a hand-full of laccases in plants have been functionally evaluated and as such little is known about the breadth of their impact on cell wall chemistry or structure. Here we describe a previously uncharacterized laccase from Populus, encoded by locus Potri.008G064000, whose reduced expression resulted in transgenic Populus trees with changes in syringyl/guaiacyl (S/G) ratios as well as altered sugar release phenotypes. These phenotypes are consistent with plant biomass exhibiting reduced recalcitrance. Interestingly, the transgene effect on recalcitrance is dependent on a mild pretreatment prior to chemical extraction of sugars. Metabolite profiling suggests the transgene modulates phenolics that are associated with the cell wall structure. We propose that this particular laccase has a range of functions related to oxidation of phenolics and conjugation of flavonoids that interact with lignin in the cell wall.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2010-2020
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2016

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-66207


  • biofuel
  • cell wall
  • lignin
  • Populus
  • recalcitrance
  • xylose


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