UGA researchers developed a library of ~200 MAbs that recognize epitope structures characteristic of most major plant cell wall polysaccharides. These MAbs are monospecific with regard to the structure that they bind. They can provide temporal and spatial information about plant cell wall structures at the whole plant, tissue, cell, and sub-cellular levels and can be used to monitor and define changes in wall structure arising from developmental, environmental, and mutational influences. As importantly, MAbs can be used for qualitative and quantitative detection of carbohydrate epitopes in plant ex-tracts. In this document, we describe how MAbs can be used for characterization of biomass materials especially with regards to monitoring changes in cell wall structure that might impact biomass recalci-trance.
The researchers have created transgenic plants, which have a higher
biomass potential given increased plant size. The new plants also have a decreased resistance to enzymes, which in turn will decrease the cost of converting the plant into biofuel. The new framework allows for understanding cell wall synthesis better, and subsequently enables the creation of more transgenic plants
Biomass is a renewable resource that has shown promise to replace petroleum based fuels, while reduc-ing green house gas emissions. The plant cell walls, which are the dominant component of feedstocks, contain polysaccharides such as cellulose, heteroxylans, and glucomannans that can ultimately be con-verted to fuel. However, the production of biomass-based fuels has not been cost competitive relative to oil or other energy resources. A key challenge is cell walls have built up a natural protection (or recal-citrance) that makes the process of converting polysaccharides to fermentable sugars inefficient.
The invention provides methods for transforming grass plants with Agrobacterium. The invention allows creation of transgenic grass plants without the need for callus as a target tissue for transformation, thus providing a rapid method for the production of transgenic grass plants. Transgenic grass plants produced by this method are also provided.
The invention provides methods for modifying lignin, cellulose, xylan, and hemicellulose content in plants, and for achieving ectopic lignification and, for instance, secondary cell wall synthesis in pith cells, by altered regulation of a WRKY transcription factor. Nucleic acid constructs for altered WRKY-TF expression are described. Transgenic plants are provided that comprise modified pith cell walls, and lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose content. Plants described herein may be used, for example, as improved biofuel feedstock and as highly digestible forage crops.
The present invention relates to methods of blocking or reducing genetically modified plant (GMO) pollen flow using a “non-lethal” approach. In this aspect, at least one transgenic polynucleotide of interest is linked to a pollen-ablation construct as described herein. The pollen-ablation construct contains a polynucleotide encoding a restriction enzyme that renders the transgenic pollen unable to fertilize a sexually compatible ovule.
Researchers at the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture have isolated a novel promoter sequence from Populus that is highly, yet broadly inducible by high temperatures (40ºC), low temperatures (0ºC), drought, and flooding. This promoter sequence has been cloned, and when expressed in Arabidopsis, has been shown to induce reporter gene function in all tissue types tested (root, leaf, seed pot and flower). Experiments are currently underway to test this promoter sequence in several other economically important crops.
Researchers at the University of Tennessee have discovered a method to induce strong expression of any gene conferring resistance to pathogens, herbicides, salt, cold, drought, or insects by using two newly identified and recently characterized switchgrass promoters. These promoters stimulate constitutive expression with 2x and 4x greater activity than maize ubiquitin 1 (ZmUbi1) and CaMV 35S, respectively, driving gene expression in all tissues and organs of switchgrass. These novel components have the potential to be integrated into all monocot transformation systems, especially where multiple gene activation is needed. Interestingly, these promoters have a broad spectrum of taxonomic activity with additional expression capabilities in other monocots, dicots and ferns.
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