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Expression of genes from the lignin synthesis pathway in guineagrass genotypes differing in cell-wall digestibility


L. F. P. Silva, School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, USP Av. Duque de Caxias Norte, 225, 13635-900 – Pirassununga, São Paulo, Brazil.


Rapid decline in cell-wall digestibility hinders efficient use of warm-season grasses. The objective of this study was to identify genes whose expressions are related to the slope of decline in cell-wall digestibility. Eleven guineagrass genotypes were harvested at three ages and classified according to fibre digestibility. Extreme genotypes were separated into groups with either FAST or SLOW decline in fibre digestibility. Expression of transcripts from six genes from the lignin synthesis pathway was quantified by real-time PCR. Fast decline in fibre digestibility was associated with higher DM yield after 90 d of regrowth. Apart from lower fibre digestibility and higher lignin content for the FAST group, there were no other differences between the two groups for the chemical composition of stems and leaves. Maturity affected differently the expression of two of the six genes, cinnamate 4-hydroxylase and caffeoyl-CoA O-methyltransferase (C4H and CCoAOMT). Genotypes with fast decline in fibre digestibility had greater increase in the expression of C4H and CCoAOMT from 30 to 60 d of regrowth, than genotypes with slower decline. Expression of C4H and CCoAOMT appears to be related to the decline in cell-wall digestibility with advance in maturity of guineagrass.

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