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Lignification related enzymes in Picea abies suspension cultures

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* Corresponding author, e-mail: anna.karkonen@helsinki.fi

Abstract

Activity of a number of enzymes related to lignin formation was measured in a Picea abies (L) Karsten suspension culture that is able to produce native-like lignin into the nutrient medium. This cell culture is an attractive model for studying lignin formation, as the process takes place independently of the complex macromolecular matrix of the native apoplast. Suspension culture proteins were fractionated into soluble cellular proteins, ionically and covalently bound cell wall proteins and nutrient medium proteins. The nutrient medium contained up to 5.3% of total coniferyl alcohol peroxidase (EC 1.11.1.7) activity and a significant NADH oxidase activity that is suggested to be responsible for hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production. There also existed some malate dehydrogenase (EC 1.1.1.37) activity in the apoplast of suspension culture cells (in ionically and covalently bound cell wall protein fractions), possibly for the regeneration of NADH that is needed for peroxidase-catalysed H2O2 production. However, there is no proof of the existence of NADH in the apoplast. Nutrient medium peroxidases could be classified into acidic, slightly basic and highly basic isoenzyme groups by isoelectric focusing. Only acidic peroxidases were found in the covalently bound cell wall protein fraction. Several peroxidase isoenzymes across the whole pI range were detected in the protein fraction ionically bound to cell walls and in the soluble cellular protein fraction. One laccase-like isoenzyme with pI of approximately 8.5 was found in the nutrient medium that was able to form dehydrogenation polymer from coniferyl alcohol in the absence of H2O2. The total activity of this oxidase towards coniferyl alcohol was, however, several orders of magnitude smaller than that of peroxidases in vitro. According to 2D 1H-13C correlation NMR spectra, most of the abundant structural units of native lignin and released suspension culture lignin are present in the oxidase produced dehydrogenation polymer but in somewhat different amounts compared to peroxidase derived synthetic lignin preparations. A coniferin β-glucosidase (EC 3.2.1.21) was observed to be secreted into the culture medium.

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