Light, the circadian clock, and sugar perception in the control of lignin biosynthesis

Louisa A Rogers, Christian Dubos, Ian F Cullis, Christine Surman, Mervin Poole, Janet Anne Willment, Shawn D Mansfield, Malcolm M Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)


Experiments were undertaken to investigate some of the mechanisms that may function to regulate lignin biosynthesis (lignification) in Arabidopsis thaliana. Northern blot analyses revealed that several genes encoding enzymes involved in the synthesis of lignin monomers displayed significant changes in transcript abundance over a diurnal cycle. Northern blot analysis also suggested that some of the changes in diurnal transcript abundance were likely to be attributable to circadian regulation, whereas others were likely to be attributable to light perception. Comparison of circadian changes in transcript abundance of lignin biosynthetic genes between wild-type plants and the sex1 mutant, which is impaired in starch turnover, suggested that carbon availability related to starch turnover might determine the capacity to synthesize lignins. This hypothesis was supported by the observation that the sex1 mutant accumulated fewer lignins than wild-type plants. Consistent with the relationship between carbon availability and lignin accumulation, analysis of dark-grown wild-type A. thaliana seedlings uncovered a role for sugars in the regulation of lignin biosynthesis. Analysis of lignin accumulation, as determined by qualitative changes in phloroglucinol staining, suggested that metabolizable sugars positively influence the abundance of lignins. Transcriptome analysis supports the hypothesis that sugars are not merely a source of carbon skeletons for lignification, but they also function as a signal to enhance the capacity to synthesize lignins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1651-1663
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number416
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Arabidopsis
  • arabidopsis proteins
  • carbohydrates
  • circadian rhythm
  • gene expression profiling
  • plant gene expression regulation
  • hypocotyl
  • light
  • lignin
  • models, chemical
  • mutation
  • plant leaves
  • diurnal
  • lignification
  • sugar
  • cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase
  • acid o-methyltransferase
  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • response pathways
  • phenylpropanoid metabolism
  • vascular expression
  • signal transduction
  • starch degradation
  • Pinus taeda


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