The involvement of the maize ZmMYB42 R2R3-MYB factor in the phenylpropanoid pathway and cell wall structure and composition was investigated by overexpression in Arabidopsis thaliana. ZmMYB42 down-regulates several genes of the lignin pathway and this effect reduces the lignin content in all lignified tissues. In addition, ZmMYB42 plants generate a lignin polymer with a decreased S to G ratio through the enrichment in H and G subunits and depletion in S subunits. This transcription factor also regulates other genes involved in the synthesis of sinapate esters and flavonoids. Furthermore, ZmMYB42 affects the cell wall structure and degradability, and its polysaccharide composition. Together, these results suggest that ZmMYB42 may be part of the regulatory network controlling the phenylpropanoid biosynthetic pathway.