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The targeting of starch binding domains from starch synthase III to the cell wall alters cell wall composition and properties

Grisolia, Mauricio J., Peralta, Diego A., Valdez, Hugo A., Barchiesi, Julieta, Gomez-Casati, Diego F., Busi, María V.
Plant molecular biology 2017 v.93 no.1-2 pp. 121-135
Arabidopsis thaliana, biochemical pathways, bioenergy industry, bioethanol, biomass, cell wall components, cell walls, cellulose, digestion, fuel production, gene overexpression, glucose, hemicellulose, hydrolysis, lignin, pectins, phenotype, saccharification, starch, starch synthase, transgenic plants
KEY MESSAGE: Starch binding domains of starch synthase III from Arabidopsis thaliana (SBD123) binds preferentially to cell wall polysaccharides rather than to starch in vitro. Transgenic plants overexpressing SBD123 in the cell wall are larger than wild type. Cell wall components are altered in transgenic plants. Transgenic plants are more susceptible to digestion than wild type and present higher released glucose content. Our results suggest that the transgenic plants have an advantage for the production of bioethanol in terms of saccharification of essential substrates. The plant cell wall, which represents a major source of biomass for biofuel production, is composed of cellulose, hemicelluloses, pectins and lignin. A potential biotechnological target for improving the production of biofuels is the modification of plant cell walls. This modification is achieved via several strategies, including, among others, altering biosynthetic pathways and modifying the associations and structures of various cell wall components. In this study, we modified the cell wall of A. thaliana by targeting the starch-binding domains of A. thaliana starch synthase III to this structure. The resulting transgenic plants (E8-SDB123) showed an increased biomass, higher levels of both fermentable sugars and hydrolyzed cellulose and altered cell wall properties such as higher laxity and degradability, which are valuable characteristics for the second-generation biofuels industry. The increased biomass and degradability phenotype of E8-SBD123 plants could be explained by the putative cell-wall loosening effect of the in tandem starch binding domains. Based on these results, our approach represents a promising biotechnological tool for reducing of biomass recalcitrance and therefore, the need for pretreatments.