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John Tran (Curtis Lab)

Date & Location: September 24, 2019, at 12p; Room 168 Plant Biology Building

Subject: Using CRISPR-Cas9 to unravel the mystery of monolignol translocation

Research: Lignin is a complex polymer deposited in the plant secondary cell wall. The aromatic polymer is key to forming structural materials that support the growth and development of vascular plants. Genetic approaches to perturb lignin in Arabidopsis have led to the modification of lignin composition, which are comprised of mainly three monolignol subunits: p-coumaryl alcohol, sinapyl alcohol, and coniferyl alcohol. While perturbations have provided insight into the biosynthetic pathway of lignin and strategies for redesigning it in plants to improve biofuel technologies, a critical step during its synthesis is not well understood. An understanding of how the building blocks of lignin are moved out of the cell from the cytoplasm to the apoplastic space where polymerization occurs has potential to advance biofuel technologies.

I have data that suggest a transporter protein plays a role in this step. Findings from my research could provide insights to regulate the amount of lignin in biofuel crops. I will discuss efforts using gene expression data and T-DNA knockout lines to identify this protein and other genetic approaches to support its role in lignin translocation.

Speaker Lab: Dr. Curtis Wilkerson