The biosynthesis of monolignols, the main components of lignin, involves many intermediates and enzymes. The cinnamoyl-CoA reductase (CCR) enzyme catalyzes the conversion of cinnamoyl-CoAs to cinnamaldehydes, i.e. the first specific step in lignin synthesis. The CCR and CCR-like gene family was studied partially in several plant species. This is a comprehensive study of the CCR and CCR-like gene family including genome organization, gene structure, phylogeny across land plant species, and, expression profiling in Populus. Analysis of amino acid motifs enabled the identification of sequence variations in the CCR catalytic site and annotates CCR and CCR-like genes. CCR and CCR-like genes were distributed in three major phylogenetic classes of which one includes the bona fide CCR genes. The other two classes include CCR and CCR-like, of which several genes present a high similarity to cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase, or dihydroflavonol reductase (DFR) genes. All CCR, CCR-like, and DFR classes were deeply rooted in the phylogeny of land plants suggesting that their evolution preceded the evolution of lycophytes. Over two thirds of CCR and CCR-like Populus genes were physically distributed on duplicated regions. This suggests that these duplication/retention processes contributed significantly to the size of the CCR and CCR-like gene family. The Populus CCR and CCR-like genes showed six expression patterns in the tissues studied with a preferential expression of PoptrCCR12 in xylem. The other genes present divergent expression profiles with some preferentially expressed in leaves, bark, or both. Several CCR and CCR-like genes were induced or repressed under various abiotic stresses suggesting that their duplication was followed by the evolution of divergent expression profiles and divergence of functions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Plant Science