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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The last step of syringyl monolignol biosynthesis in angiosperms is regulated by a novel gene encoding sinapyl alcohol dehydrogenase.

Cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase ( CAD; EC has been thought to mediate the reduction of both coniferaldehyde and sinapaldehyde into guaiacyl and syringyl monolignols in angiosperms. Here, we report the isolation of a novel aspen gene (PtSAD) encoding sinapyl alcohol dehydrogenase (SAD), which is phylogenetically distinct from aspen CAD (PtCAD). Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-based enzyme functional analysis and substrate level-controlled enzyme kinetics consistently demonstrated that PtSAD is sinapaldehyde specific and that PtCAD is coniferaldehyde specific. The enzymatic efficiency of PtSAD for sinapaldehyde was approximately 60 times greater than that of PtCAD. These data suggest that in addition to CAD, discrete SAD function is essential to the biosynthesis of syringyl monolignol in angiosperms. In aspen stem primary tissues, PtCAD was immunolocalized exclusively to xylem elements in which only guaiacyl lignin was deposited, whereas PtSAD was abundant in syringyl lignin-enriched phloem fiber cells. In the developing secondary stem xylem, PtCAD was most conspicuous in guaiacyl lignin-enriched vessels, but PtSAD was nearly absent from these elements and was conspicuous in fiber cells. In the context of additional protein immunolocalization and lignin histochemistry, these results suggest that the distinct CAD and SAD functions are linked spatiotemporally to the differential biosynthesis of guaiacyl and syringyl lignins in different cell types. SAD is required for the biosynthesis of syringyl lignin in angiosperms.[1]


  1. The last step of syringyl monolignol biosynthesis in angiosperms is regulated by a novel gene encoding sinapyl alcohol dehydrogenase. Li, L., Cheng, X.F., Leshkevich, J., Umezawa, T., Harding, S.A., Chiang, V.L. Plant Cell (2001) [Pubmed]
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