Publications by authors named "Jaime Barros-Rios"

13 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Elucidating the multifunctional role of the cell wall components in the maize exploitation.

BMC Plant Biol 2021 Jun 2;21(1):251. Epub 2021 Jun 2.

Facultad, de Biología, Departamento de Biología Vegetal Y Ciencias del Suelo, Universidad de Vigo, As Lagoas Marcosende, 36310, Vigo, Spain.

Background: Besides the use of maize grain as food and feed, maize stover can be a profitable by-product for cellulosic ethanol production, whereas the whole plant can be used for silage production. However, yield is reduced by pest damages, stem corn borers being one of the most important yield constraints. Overall, cell wall composition is key in determining the quality of maize biomass, as well as pest resistance. This study aims to evaluate the composition of the four cell wall fractions (cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin and hydroxycinnamates) in diverse maize genotypes and to understand how this composition influences the resistance to pests, ethanol capacity and digestibility.

Results: The following results can be highlighted: (i) pests' resistant materials may show cell walls with low p-coumaric acid and low hemicellulose content; (ii) inbred lines showing cell walls with high cellulose content and high diferulate cross-linking may present higher performance for ethanol production; (iii) and inbreds with enhanced digestibility may have cell walls poor in neutral detergent fibre and diferulates, combined with a lignin polymer composition richer in G subunits.

Conclusions: Results evidence that there is no maize cell wall ideotype among the tested for optimal performance for various uses, and maize plants should be specifically bred for each particular application.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12870-021-03040-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8170779PMC
June 2021

Editorial: Biofuels and Bioenergy.

Front Plant Sci 2020 30;11:621380. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Silviculture, School of Forestry and Biotechnology, Zhejiang A&F University, Hangzhou, China.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2020.621380DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7733962PMC
November 2020

A dynamic model of lignin biosynthesis in .

Biotechnol Biofuels 2018 19;11:253. Epub 2018 Sep 19.

1The Wallace H. Coulter, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, 950 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332-2000 USA.

Background: Lignin is a crucial molecule for terrestrial plants, as it offers structural support and permits the transport of water over long distances. The hardness of lignin reduces plant digestibility by cattle and sheep; it also makes inedible plant materials recalcitrant toward the enzymatic fermentation of cellulose, which is a potentially valuable substrate for sustainable biofuels. Targeted attempts to change the amount or composition of lignin in relevant plant species have been hampered by the fact that the lignin biosynthetic pathway is difficult to understand, because it uses several enzymes for the same substrates, is regulated in an ill-characterized manner, may operate in different locations within cells, and contains metabolic channels, which the plant may use to funnel initial substrates into specific monolignols.

Results: We propose a dynamic mathematical model that integrates various datasets and other information regarding the lignin pathway in and permits explanations for some counterintuitive observations. The model predicts the lignin composition and label distribution in a knockdown strain, with results that are quite similar to experimental data.

Conclusion: Given the present scarcity of available data, the model resulting from our analysis is presumably not final. However, it offers proof of concept for how one may design integrative pathway models of this type, which are necessary tools for predicting the consequences of genomic or other alterations toward plants with lignin features that are more desirable than in their wild-type counterparts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13068-018-1241-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6145374PMC
September 2018

A 5-Enolpyruvylshikimate 3-Phosphate Synthase Functions as a Transcriptional Repressor in .

Plant Cell 2018 07 11;30(7):1645-1660. Epub 2018 Jun 11.

BioEnergy Science Center and Biosciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831

Long-lived perennial plants, with distinctive habits of inter-annual growth, defense, and physiology, are of great economic and ecological importance. However, some biological mechanisms resulting from genome duplication and functional divergence of genes in these systems remain poorly studied. Here, we discovered an association between a poplar ( 5-enolpyruvylshikimate 3-phosphate synthase gene () and lignin biosynthesis. Functional characterization of PtrEPSP revealed that this isoform possesses a helix-turn-helix motif in the N terminus and can function as a transcriptional repressor that regulates expression of genes in the phenylpropanoid pathway in addition to performing its canonical biosynthesis function in the shikimate pathway. We demonstrated that this isoform can localize in the nucleus and specifically binds to the promoter and represses the expression of a -like transcriptional regulator, which itself specifically binds to the promoter and represses the expression of (known as in ), a master regulator of the phenylpropanoid pathway and lignin biosynthesis. Analyses of overexpression and RNAi lines targeting PtrEPSP confirmed the predicted changes in expression patterns. These results demonstrate that PtrEPSP in its regulatory form and PtrhAT form a transcriptional hierarchy regulating phenylpropanoid pathway and lignin biosynthesis in .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1105/tpc.18.00168DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6096593PMC
July 2018

Mathematical models of lignin biosynthesis.

Biotechnol Biofuels 2018 9;11:34. Epub 2018 Feb 9.

1The Wallace H. Coulter, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, 313, Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332 USA.

Background: Lignin is a natural polymer that is interwoven with cellulose and hemicellulose within plant cell walls. Due to this molecular arrangement, lignin is a major contributor to the recalcitrance of plant materials with respect to the extraction of sugars and their fermentation into ethanol, butanol, and other potential bioenergy crops. The lignin biosynthetic pathway is similar, but not identical in different plant species. It is in each case comprised of a moderate number of enzymatic steps, but its responses to manipulations, such as gene knock-downs, are complicated by the fact that several of the key enzymes are involved in several reaction steps. This feature poses a challenge to bioenergy production, as it renders it difficult to select the most promising combinations of genetic manipulations for the optimization of lignin composition and amount.

Results: Here, we present several computational models than can aid in the analysis of data characterizing lignin biosynthesis. While minimizing technical details, we focus on the questions of what types of data are particularly useful for modeling and what genuine benefits the biofuel researcher may gain from the resulting models. We demonstrate our analysis with mathematical models for black cottonwood (), alfalfa (), switchgrass () and the grass .

Conclusions: Despite commonality in pathway structure, different plant species show different regulatory features and distinct spatial and topological characteristics. The putative lignin biosynthes pathway is not able to explain the plant specific laboratory data, and the necessity of plant specific modeling should be heeded.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13068-018-1028-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5806469PMC
February 2018

Methods for Determining Cell Wall-Bound Phenolics in Maize Stem Tissues.

J Agric Food Chem 2018 Feb 26;66(5):1279-1284. Epub 2018 Jan 26.

BioDiscovery Institute, University of North Texas , Denton, Texas 76203, United States.

We compared two methods with different sample pretreatment, hydrolysis, and separation procedures to extract cell wall-bound phenolics. The samples were pith and rind tissues from six maize inbred lines reportedly containing different levels of cell wall-bound phenolics. In method 1, pretreated samples were extracted with a C solid-phase extraction cartridge, and it took 6 days to complete. In method 2, phenolics were extracted from crude samples with ethyl acetate, it took 2 days to complete, and the cost per sample was reduced more than 60%. Both methods extracted more 4-coumarate than ferulate. Overall, method 1 yielded more 4-coumarate, while method 2 yielded more ferulate. The lack of a genotype × method interaction and significant correlations between the results obtained using the two methods indicate that both methods are reliable for use in large-scale plant breeding programs. Method 2, scaled, is proposed for general plant biology research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.7b05752DOI Listing
February 2018

A re-evaluation of the final step of vanillin biosynthesis in the orchid Vanilla planifolia.

Phytochemistry 2017 Jul 12;139:33-46. Epub 2017 Apr 12.

BioDiscovery Institute, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203, USA; Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203, USA. Electronic address:

A recent publication describes an enzyme from the vanilla orchid Vanilla planifolia with the ability to convert ferulic acid directly to vanillin. The authors propose that this represents the final step in the biosynthesis of vanillin, which is then converted to its storage form, glucovanillin, by glycosylation. The existence of such a "vanillin synthase" could enable biotechnological production of vanillin from ferulic acid using a "natural" vanilla enzyme. The proposed vanillin synthase exhibits high identity to cysteine proteases, and is identical at the protein sequence level to a protein identified in 2003 as being associated with the conversion of 4-coumaric acid to 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde. We here demonstrate that the recombinant cysteine protease-like protein, whether expressed in an in vitro transcription-translation system, E. coli, yeast, or plants, is unable to convert ferulic acid to vanillin. Rather, the protein is a component of an enzyme complex that preferentially converts 4-coumaric acid to 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde, as demonstrated by the purification of this complex and peptide sequencing. Furthermore, RNA sequencing provides evidence that this protein is expressed in many tissues of V. planifolia irrespective of whether or not they produce vanillin. On the basis of our results, V. planifolia does not appear to contain a cysteine protease-like "vanillin synthase" that can, by itself, directly convert ferulic acid to vanillin. The pathway to vanillin in V. planifolia is yet to be conclusively determined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2017.04.003DOI Listing
July 2017

Hydroxycinnamate Synthesis and Association with Mediterranean Corn Borer Resistance.

J Agric Food Chem 2016 Jan 12;64(3):539-51. Epub 2016 Jan 12.

Misión Biológica de Galicia (CSIC) , Apartado 28, 36080 Pontevedra, Spain.

Previous results suggest a relationship between maize hydroxycinnamate concentration in the pith tissues and resistance to stem tunneling by Mediterranean corn borer (MCB, Sesamia nonagrioides Lef.) larvae. This study performs a more precise experiment, mapping an F2 derived from the cross between two inbreds with contrasting levels for hydroxycinnamates EP125 × PB130. We aimed to co-localize genomic regions involved in hydroxycinnamate synthesis and resistance to MCB and to highlight the particular route for each hydroxycinnamate component in relation to the better known phenylpropanoid pathway. Seven quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for p-coumarate, two QTLs for ferulate, and seven QTLs for total diferulates explained 81.7, 26.9, and 57.8% of the genotypic variance, respectively. In relation to borer resistance, alleles for increased hydroxycinnamate content (affecting one or more hydroxycinnamate compounds) could be associated with favorable effects on stem resistance to MCB, particularly the putative role of p-coumarate in borer resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.5b04862DOI Listing
January 2016

Combining enhanced biomass density with reduced lignin level for improved forage quality.

Plant Biotechnol J 2016 Mar 20;14(3):895-904. Epub 2015 Jul 20.

Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA.

To generate a forage crop with increased biomass density that retains forage quality, we have genetically transformed lines of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) expressing antisense constructs targeting two different lignin pathway biosynthetic genes with a construct for down-regulation of a WRKY family transcription factor that acts as a repressor of secondary cell wall formation in pith tissues. Plants with low-level expression of the WRKY dominant repressor construct produced lignified cell walls in pith tissues and exhibited enhanced biomass and biomass density, with an increase in total sugars in the cell wall fraction; however, lines with high expression of the WRKY dominant repressor construct exhibited a very different phenotype, with loss of interfascicular fibres associated with repression of the NST1 transcription factor. This latter phenotype was not observed in transgenic lines in which the WRKY transcription factor was down-regulated by RNA interference. Enhanced and/or ectopic deposition of secondary cell walls was also seen in corn and switchgrass expressing WRKY dominant repressor constructs, with enhanced biomass in corn but reduced biomass in switchgrass. Neutral detergent fibre digestibility was not impacted by WRKY expression in corn. Cell walls from WRKY-DR-expressing alfalfa plants with enhanced secondary cell wall formation exhibited increased sugar release efficiency, and WRKY dominant repressor expression further increased sugar release in alfalfa down-regulated in the COMT, but not the HCT, genes of lignin biosynthesis. These results suggest that significant enhancements in forage biomass and quality can be achieved through engineering WRKY transcription factors in both monocots and dicots.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pbi.12439DOI Listing
March 2016

Covalent cross-linking of cell-wall polysaccharides through esterified diferulates as a maize resistance mechanism against corn borers.

J Agric Food Chem 2015 Mar 19;63(8):2206-14. Epub 2015 Feb 19.

Grupo de Genética y Mejora de Maíz, Misión Biológica de Galicia, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) , Apartado 28, 36080 Pontevedra, Spain.

There is strong evidence to suggest that cross-linking of cell-wall polymers through ester-linked diferulates has a key role in plant resistance to pests; however, direct experimentation to provide conclusive proof is lacking. This study presents an evaluation of the damage caused by two corn borer species on six maize populations particularly selected for divergent diferulate concentrations in pith stem tissues. Maize populations selected for high total diferulate concentration had 31% higher diferulates than those selected for low diferulates. Stem tunneling by corn borer species was 29% greater in the population with the lowest diferulates than in the population with the highest diferulates (31.7 versus 22.6 cm), whereas total diferulate concentration was negatively correlated with stem tunneling by corn borers. Moreover, orthogonal contrasts between groups of populations evaluated showed that larvae fed in laboratory bioassays on pith stem tissues from maize populations with higher diferulates had 30-40% lower weight than larvae fed on the same tissues from maize populations with lower diferulates. This is the first report that shows a direct relationship between diferulate deposition in maize cell walls and corn borer resistance. Current findings will help to develop adapted maize varieties with an acceptable level of resistance against borers and be useful in special kinds of agriculture, such as organic farming.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf505341dDOI Listing
March 2015

Impact of cell wall composition on maize resistance to pests and diseases.

Int J Mol Sci 2013 Mar 27;14(4):6960-80. Epub 2013 Mar 27.

Misión Biológica de Galicia (CSIC), Pontevedra E-36080, Spain.

In cereals, the primary cell wall is built of a skeleton of cellulosic microfibrils embedded in a matrix of hemicelluloses and smaller amounts of pectins, glycoproteins and hydroxycinnamates. Later, during secondary wall development, p-coumaryl, coniferyl and sinapyl alcohols are copolymerized to form mixed lignins. Several of these cell wall components show a determinative role in maize resistance to pest and diseases. However, defense mechanisms are very complex and vary among the same plant species, different tissues or even the same tissue at different developmental stages. Thus, it is important to highlight that the role of the cell wall components needs to be tested in diverse genotypes and specific tissues where the feeding or attacking by the pathogen takes place. Understanding the role of cell wall constituents as defense mechanisms may allow modifications of crops to withstand pests and diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms14046960DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3645672PMC
March 2013

Divergent selection for ester-linked diferulates in maize pith stalk tissues. Effects on cell wall composition and degradability.

Phytochemistry 2012 Nov 30;83:43-50. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

CSIC-Misión Biológica de Galicia, Grupo de Genética y Mejora de Maíz, Apartado 28, 36080 Pontevedra, Spain.

Cross-linking of grass cell wall components through diferulates (DFAs) has a marked impact on cell wall properties. However, results of genetic selection for DFA concentration have not been reported for any grass species. We report here the results of direct selection for ester-linked DFA concentration in maize stalk pith tissues and the associated changes in cell wall composition and biodegradability. After two cycles of divergent selection, maize populations selected for higher total DFA (DFAT) content (CHs) had 16% higher DFAT concentrations than populations selected for lower DFAT content (CLs). These significant DFA concentration gains suggest that DFA deposition in maize pith parenchyma cell walls is a highly heritable trait that is genetically regulated and can be modified trough conventional breeding. Maize populations selected for higher DFAT had 13% less glucose and 10% lower total cell wall concentration than CLs, suggesting that increased cross-linking of feruloylated arabinoxylans results in repacking of the matrix and possibly in thinner and firmer cell walls. Divergent selection affected esterified DFAT and monomeric ferulate ether cross link concentrations differently, supporting the hypothesis that the biosynthesis of these cell wall components are separately regulated. As expected, a more higher DFA ester cross-coupled arabinoxylan network had an effect on rumen cell wall degradability (CLs showed 12% higher 24-h total polysaccharide degradability than CHs). Interestingly, 8-8-coupled DFAs, previously associated with cell wall strength, were the best predictors of pith cell wall degradability (negative impact). Thus, further research on the involvement of these specific DFA regioisomers in limiting cell wall biodegradability is encouraged.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2012.07.026DOI Listing
November 2012

Cell wall composition as a maize defense mechanism against corn borers.

Phytochemistry 2011 Apr 1;72(4-5):365-71. Epub 2011 Feb 1.

Misión Biológica de Galicia (CSIC), Apartado 28, E-36080 Pontevedra, Spain.

European and Mediterranean corn borers are two of the most economically important insect pests of maize (Zea mays L.) in North America and southern Europe, respectively. Cell wall structure and composition were evaluated in pith and rind tissues of resistant and susceptible inbred lines as possible corn borer resistance traits. Composition of cell wall polysaccharides, lignin concentration and composition, and cell wall bound forms of hydroxycinnamic acids were measured. As expected, most of the cell wall components were found at higher concentrations in the rind than in the pith tissues, with the exception of galactose and total diferulate esters. Pith of resistant inbred lines had significantly higher concentrations of total cell wall material than susceptible inbred lines, indicating that the thickness of cell walls could be the initial barrier against corn borer larvae attack. Higher concentrations of cell wall xylose and 8-O-4-coupled diferulate were found in resistant inbreds. Stem tunneling by corn borers was negatively correlated with concentrations of total diferulates, 8-5-diferulate and p-coumarate esters. Higher total cell wall, xylose, and 8-coupled diferulates concentrations appear to be possible mechanisms of corn borer resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2011.01.004DOI Listing
April 2011