|Gui et al. published online an article entitled "Functional characterization of evolutionarily divergent 4-|
coumarate:CoA ligases in rice" in Plant Physiology
4-Coumarate:CoA ligase (4CL, EC 126.96.36.199) is a key enzyme in the phenylpropanoid metabolic pathways for monolignol and flavonoid biosynthesis. 4CL has been much studied in dicotyledons, but its function is not completely understood in monocotyledons, which display a different monolignol composition and phenylpropanoid profile. In the present study, 5 members of the 4CL gene family in the rice genome were cloned and analyzed. Biochemical characterization of the 4CL recombinant proteins revealed that the rice 4CL isoforms displayed different substrate specificities and catalytic turnover rates. Among them, Os4CL3 exhibited the highest turnover rate. No apparent tissue specific expression of the five 4CLs was observed but significant differences in their expression levels were detected. The rank in order of transcript abundance was Os4CL3>Os4CL5>Os4CL1>Os4CL4>Os4CL2. Suppression of Os4CL3 expression resulted in significant lignin reduction, shorter plant growth and other morphological changes. The 4CL-suppressed transgenics also displayed decreased panicle fertility, which may be attributed to abnormal anther development as a result of disrupted lignin synthesis. This study demonstrates that the rice 4CLs exhibit different in vitro catalytic properties from those in dicots and that 4CL-mediated metabolisms in vivo may play important roles in regulating a broad range of biological events over the course of rice growth and development.
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