Monitoring Biosynthesis of Wheat Cell-Wall Phenylpropanoids in Situ

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Science  11 Sep 1987:
Vol. 237, Issue 4820, pp. 1344-1346
DOI: 10.1126/science.237.4820.1344


Lignins and suberins are complex plant cell-wall macromolecules that are composed mainly of phenylpropanoid residues derived from L-phenylalanine. Lignins and suberins are considered to be covalently linked to carbohydrates and to lipids, respectively. The bonding of these important structural materials within cell walls has never been established. By feeding specifically labeled [13C] ferulic acid over extended durations to seedlings of Triticum aestivum L. and by using solid-state carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance techniques, the major resonances due to specific carbons in the propanoid side chains of these cell-wall polymers have been identified in situ. The signals were found to differ significantly from those of synthetic lignins, which have usually been considered to be good approximations of natural lignin structure.