OsMYB108 loss‐of‐function enriches p‐coumaroylated and tricin lignin units in rice cell walls
Breeding approaches to enrich lignins in biomass could be beneficial to improving the biorefinery process because lignins increase biomass heating value and represent a potent source of valuable aromatic chemicals. However, despite the fact that grasses are promising lignocellulose feedstocks, limited information is yet available for molecular‐breeding approaches to upregulate lignin biosynthesis in grass species. In this study, we generated lignin‐enriched transgenic rice (Oryza sativa), a model grass species, via targeted mutagenesis of the transcriptional repressor OsMYB108 using CRISPR/Cas9‐mediated genome editing. The OsMYB108‐knockout rice mutants displayed increased expressions of lignin biosynthetic genes and enhanced lignin deposition in culm cell walls. Chemical and two‐dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses revealed that the mutant cell walls were preferentially enriched in γ‐p‐coumaroylated and tricin lignin units, both of which are typical and unique components in grass lignins. NMR analysis also showed that the relative abundances of major lignin linkage types were altered in the OsMYB108 mutants.
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