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Abstract

Class III secretable plant peroxidases occur as a large family of genes in plants with many functions and probable redundancy. In this review we are concentrating on the evidence we have on the catalysis of lignin polymerization by class III plant peroxidases present in the apoplastic space in the xylem of trees. Some evidence exists on the specificity of peroxidase isozymes in lignin polymerization through substrate specificity studies, from antisense mutants in tobacco and poplar and from tissue and cell culture lines of Norway spruce (Picea abies) and Zinnia elegans. In addition, real time (RT-)PCR results have pointed out that many peroxidases have tissue specific expression patterns in Norway spruce. Through combining information on catalytic properties of the enzymes, on the expression patterns of the corresponding genes, and on the presence of monolignols and hydrogen peroxide in the apoplastic space, we can show that specific peroxidases catalyze lignin polymerization in the apoplastic space of Norway spruce xylem.