The Arabidopsis cytochrome P450 CYP86A1 encodes a fatty acid ω-hydroxylase involved in suberin monomer biosynthesis

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The lipophilic biopolyester suberin forms important boundaries to protect the plant from its surrounding environment or to separate different tissues within the plant. In roots, suberin can be found in the cell walls of the endodermis and the hypodermis or periderm. Apoplastic barriers composed of suberin accomplish the challenge to restrict water and nutrient loss and prevent the invasion of pathogens. Despite the physiological importance of suberin and the knowledge of the suberin composition of many plants, very little is known about its biosynthesis and the genes involved. Here, a detailed analysis of the Arabidopsis aliphatic suberin in roots at different developmental stages is presented. This study demonstrates some variability in suberin amount and composition along the root axis and indicates the importance of ω-hydroxylation for suberin biosynthesis. Using reverse genetics, the cytochrome P450 fatty acid ω-hydroxylase CYP86A1 (At5g58860) has been identified as a key enzyme for aliphatic root suberin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. The corresponding horst mutants show a substantial reduction in ω-hydroxyacids with a chain length 20, demonstrating that CYP86A1 functions as a hydroxylase of root suberized tissue. Detailed expression studies revealed a strong root specificity and a localized expression in the root endodermis. Transgenic expression of CYP86A1 fused to GFP distributed CYP86A1 to the endoplasmic reticulum, indicating that suberin monomer biosynthesis takes place in this sub-cellular compartment before intermediates are exported in the apoplast.

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