Improvement of enzymatic saccharification in Arabidopsis thaliana by ectopic expression of the rice SUB1A-1 transcription factor
Saccharification of polysaccharides releases monosaccharides that can be used by ethanol-producing microorganisms in biofuel production. To improve plant biomass as a raw material for saccharification, factors controlling the accumulation and structure of carbohydrates must be identified. Rice SUB1A-1 is a transcription factor that represses the turnover of starch and postpones energy-consuming growth processes under submergence stress. Arabidopsis was employed to test if heterologous
... erologous expression of SUB1A-1 or SUB1C-1 (a related gene) can be used to improve saccharification. Cellulolytic and amylolytic enzymatic treatments confirmed that SUB1A-1 transgenics had better saccharification yield than wild-type (Col-0), mainly from accumulated starch. This high saccharification yield was developmentally controlled since juvenile transgenic plants yielded 200-300% more glucose than Col-0. We measured photosynthetic parameters, starch granule microstructure, and transcript abundance of genes involved in starch degradation (SEX4, GWD1), juvenile transition (SPL3-5) and meristematic identity (FUL, SOC1) but found no differences to Col-0, indicating that starch accumulation may be controlled by down-regulation of CONSTANS and FLOWERING LOCUS T by SUB1A-1 as previously reported. SUB1A-1 transgenics also offered less resistance to deformation than wild-type concomitant to up-regulation of AtEXP2 expansin and BGL2 glucan-1,3,-beta-glucosidase. We conclude that heterologous SUB1A-1 expression can improve saccharification yield and softness, two traits needed in bioethanol production.