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Pure Appl. Chem. Vol.
73, No. 3, pp. 561-566 (2001)
Pure and Applied
Vol. 73, Issue
Gains achieved by molecular approaches in the area of lignification*
Alain-M. Boudet** and Matthieu Chabannes
UMR CNRS/UPS 5546, Pôle de Biotechnologie Végétale,
24 Chemin de Borde-Rouge, BP 17 Auzeville, F-31326 Castanet Tolosan
Abstract: In this article we highlight the contribution of molecular
biology and lignin genetic engineering toward a better understanding
of lignin biosynthesis and spatio-temporal deposition of lignin. Specific
examples from the literature and from our laboratory will serve to underline
the chemical flexibility of lignins, the complexity of the regulatory
circuits involved in their synthesis, and the specific behavior of different
cell types within the xylem. We will also focus on strategies aiming
to reduce the lignin content or to modify the lignin composition of
plants and present their impact on plant development. We will show that
the ectopic expression of a specific transgene may have a different
impact, depending on the genetic background, and that plants with a
severe reduction in lignin content may undergo normal development. Lignification
is currently benefiting enormously from recent developments in molecular
biology and transgenesis, and the progress made opens the way for future
developments to study how the walls of lignified plant cells are built
*Lecture presented at the 22nd IUPAC International
Symposium on the Chemistry of Natural Products, São Carlos, Brazil,
3-8 September 2000. Other presentations are published in this issue,
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