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Towards uncovering the roles of switchgrass peroxidases in plant processes

Aaron J. Saathoff, Teresa Donze, Nathan A. Palmer, Jeff Bradshaw, Tiffany Heng-Moss, Paul Twigg, Christian M. Tobias, Mark Lagrimini, Gautam Sarath
Frontiers in plant science 2013 v.4 pp. 1-12
Panicum virgatum, biotic stress, gene expression regulation, genes, grasses, herbaceous plants, lignification, nucleotide sequences, peroxidases, pest resistance, phytophagous insects, plant response, plant stress, plant tissues, plant-insect relations, proteins, stress response, tetraploidy, transcriptome
Herbaceous perennial plants selected as potential biofuel feedstocks had been understudied at the genomic and functional genomic levels. Recent investments, primarily by the U.S. Department of Energy, have led to the development of a number of molecular resources for bioenergy grasses, such as the partially annotated genome for switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), and some related diploid species. In its current version, the switchgrass genome contains 65,878 gene models arising from the A and B genomes of this tetraploid grass. The availability of these gene sequences provides a framework to exploit transcriptomic data obtained from next-generation sequencing platforms to address questions of biological importance. One such question pertains to discovery of genes and proteins important for biotic and abiotic stress responses, and how these components might affect biomass quality and stress response in plants engineered for a specific end purpose. It can be expected that production of switchgrass on marginal lands will expose plants to diverse stresses, including herbivory by insects. Class III plant peroxidases have been implicated in many developmental responses such as lignification and in the adaptive responses of plants to insect feeding. Here, we have analyzed the class III peroxidases encoded by the switchgrass genome, and have mined available transcriptomic datasets to develop a first understanding of the expression profiles of the class III peroxidases in different plant tissues. Lastly, we have identified switchgrass peroxidases that appear to be orthologs of enzymes shown to play key roles in lignification and plant defense responses to hemipterans.