Main conclusion: Improved post-harvest cell wall deconstruction of tall fescue leaves has been demonstrated by in-planta co-expression of a constitutively expressed ferulic acid esterase together with a senescence-induced β-1,4 endoxylanase. Tall fescue plants (Festuca arundinacea) constitutively expressing vacuole- or apoplast-targeted ferulic acid esterase from Aspergillus niger were retransformed with a senescence-induced and apoplast-targeted β-1,4 endo-xylanase from Trichoderma reesei. Enzyme activities in co-expressing plants stabilized after repeated vegetative propagation, with xylanase activity in senescent leaves increasing and ferulic acid esterase activity decreasing after tillering. Plants co-expressing both enzymes in the apoplast, with the lowest levels of ferulate monomers and dimers and the lowest levels of cell wall arabinoxylans, released ten times more cell wall hydroxycinnamic acids and five times more arabinoxylan from the cell wall on autodigestion compared to expression of ferulic acid esterase or xylanase alone. These plants also showed a 31 % increase in cellulase-mediated release of reducing sugars, a 5 % point increase in in vitro dry matter digestibility and a 23 % increase in acetyl bromide-soluble lignin. However, plant growth was adversely affected by expressing FAE in the apoplast, giving plants with narrower shorted leaves, and a 71 % decrease in biomass.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science