Table_2_Phenylpropanoid Biosynthesis Gene Expression Precedes Lignin Accumulation During Shoot Development in Lowland and Upland Switchgrass Genotypes.XLSX
Efficient conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into biofuels is influenced by biomass composition and structure. Lignin and other cell wall phenylpropanoids, such as para-coumaric acid (pCA) and ferulic acid (FA), reduce cell wall sugar accessibility and hamper biochemical fuel production. Toward identifying the timing and key parameters of cell wall recalcitrance across different switchgrass genotypes, this study measured cell wall composition and lignin biosynthesis gene expression in three switchgrass genotypes, A4 and AP13, representing the lowland ecotype, and VS16, representing the upland ecotype, at three developmental stages [Vegetative 3 (V3), Elongation 4 (E4), and Reproductive 3 (R3)] and three segments (S1–S3) of the E4 stage under greenhouse conditions. A decrease in cell wall digestibility and an increase in phenylpropanoids occur across development. Compared with AP13 and A4, VS16 has significantly less lignin and greater cell wall digestibility at the V3 and E4 stages; however, differences among genotypes diminish by the R3 stage. Gini correlation analysis across all genotypes revealed that lignin and pCA, but also pectin monosaccharide components, show the greatest negative correlations with digestibility. Lignin and pCA accumulation is delayed compared with expression of phenylpropanoid biosynthesis genes, while FA accumulation coincides with expression of these genes. The different cell wall component accumulation profiles and gene expression correlations may have implications for system biology approaches to identify additional gene products with cell wall component synthesis and regulation functions.