Cytosolic invertase contributes to the supply of substrate for cellulose biosynthesis in developing wood
New Phytol. 2017, 214(2):796-807

Rende U, Wang W, Gandla ML, Jönsson LJ, Niittylä T

Carbon for cellulose biosynthesis is derived from sucrose. Cellulose is synthesized from uridine 5'-diphosphoglucose (UDP-glucose), but the enzyme(s) responsible for the initial sucrose cleavage and the source of UDP-glucose for cellulose biosynthesis in developing wood have not been defined. We investigated the role of CYTOSOLIC INVERTASEs (CINs) during wood formation in hybrid aspen (Populus tremula × tremuloides) and characterized transgenic lines with reduced CIN activity during secondary cell wall biosynthesis. Suppression of CIN activity by 38-55% led to a 9-13% reduction in crystalline cellulose. The changes in cellulose were reflected in reduced diameter of acid-insoluble cellulose microfibrils and increased glucose release from wood upon enzymatic digestion of cellulose. Reduced CIN activity decreased the amount of the cellulose biosynthesis precursor UDP-glucose in developing wood, pointing to the likely cause of the cellulose phenotype. The findings suggest that CIN activity has an important role in the cellulose biosynthesis of trees, and indicate that cellulose biosynthesis in wood relies on a quantifiable UDP-glucose pool. The results also introduce a concept of altering cellulose microfibril properties by modifying substrate supply to cellulose biosynthesis.

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