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OsCAD2 is the major CAD gene responsible for monolignol biosynthesis in rice culm

Hirano, Ko, Aya, Koichiro, Kondo, Mari, Okuno, Ayako, Morinaka, Yoichi, Matsuoka, Makoto
Plant cell reports 2012 v.31 no.1 pp. 91-101
biosynthesis, caffeic acid, cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase, internodes, lignin, major genes, plants, protein synthesis, proteins, rice, roots
Cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) catalyzes the last step of monolignol biosynthesis. The rice genome contains 12 CAD-like genes, and whereas the proteins encoded by OsCAD2 and OsCAD7 are known to function in monolignol biosynthesis, the degree to which these enzymes contribute to this process and the involvement of the enzymes encoded by the remaining ten genes is unclear. This paper investigates the role of OsCAD2 and the nine other OsCAD-like proteins in monolignol biosynthesis. Among the OsCAD genes analyzed, OsCAD2, an enzyme belonging to the bona fide CAD phylogenetic group, was the most abundantly expressed gene in the uppermost internode, and was expressed at levels that were more than seven times greater than those of the second most abundantly expressed gene, OsCAD1. Promoter-GUS analysis of OsCAD2 (pCAD::GUS) in the internode, sheath, and roots revealed that GUS expression was strong in tissues that accumulated high levels of lignin. Furthermore, expression always preceded lignin accumulation, showing the tight correlation between OsCAD2 expression and monolignol biosynthesis. Additionally, expression of pCAD::GUS was well synchronized with that of rice caffeic acid 3-O-methyltransferase (OsCOMT::GUS), suggesting that the two enzymes function cooperatively during monolignol biosynthesis. Co-expression network analysis of eight OsCAD genes further revealed that, among the OsCAD genes, expression of OsCAD2 was most tightly associated with the transcription of lignin biosynthesis-related genes. These results suggest that OsCAD2 is largely responsible for monolignol biosynthesis in rice, which is similar to that indicated for the predominant role of other plant bona fide CAD protein to monolignol biosynthesis.