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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   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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