Shingo SAKAMOTO of Tsukuba’s Industrial Technology Research Institute, an institute under METI’s Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, has generated a gene-disrupted nst1 nst3 double mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana, a plant in which two NST transcription factors have been destroyed and which cannot stand upright because it can not form secondary cell walls in the stem fiber cells. Since the secondary woody cell wall generally occupies more than half of the dry weight of terrestrial plants, the nst1 nst3 double mutant has only the outer wall and the contents are like hollow “empty containers. To this nst1 nst3 double mutant, about 300 representative transcription factors were introduced. Plants into which class III d, III e ERF transcription factor genes were introduced showed more primary cell walls, twice as much enzymatic glycosylation and contained a larger amount of pectin. These cell walls contained no lignin but were thicker than normal primary cell walls. Using these results, it will be attempted to increase the proportion of primary cell walls in other tree plants, lowering their content of lignin, and to contribute to the production of fuels derived from woody biomass and chemical products.
JST news release, October 2, 2018