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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Modifying lignin composition and xylan O-acetylation induces changes in cell wall composition, extractability, and digestibility

Chaudhari, Aniket Anant; Sharma, Anant Mohan; Rastogi, Lavi; Dewangan, Bhagwat Prasad; Sharma, Raunak; Singh, Deepika; Sah, Rajan Kumar; Das, Shouvik; Bhattacharjee, Saikat; Mellerowicz, Ewa J.; Pawar, Prashant Anupama-Mohan


Background Lignin and xylan are important determinants of cell wall structure and lignocellulosic biomass digestibility. Genetic manipulations that individually modify either lignin or xylan structure improve polysaccharide digestibility. However, the effects of their simultaneous modifications have not been explored in a similar context. Here, both individual and combinatorial modification in xylan and lignin was studied by analysing the effect on plant cell wall properties, biotic stress responses and integrity sensing. Results Arabidopsis plant co-harbouring mutation in FERULATE 5-HYDROXYLASE (F5H) and overexpressing Aspergillus niger acetyl xylan esterase (35S:AnAXE1) were generated and displayed normal growth attributes with intact xylem architecture. This fah1-2/35S:AnAXE1 cross was named as hyper G lignin and hypoacetylated (HrGHypAc) line. The HrGHypAc plants showed increased crystalline cellulose content with enhanced digestibility after chemical and enzymatic pre-treatment. Moreover, both parents and HrGHypAc without and after pre-treating with glucuronyl esterase and alpha glucuronidase exhibited an increase in xylose release after xylanase digestion as compared to wild type. The de-pectinated fraction in HrGHypAc displayed elevated levels of xylan and cellulose. Furthermore, the transcriptomic analysis revealed differential expression in cell wall biosynthetic, transcription factors and wall-associated kinases genes implying the role of lignin and xylan modification on cellular regulatory processes. Conclusions Simultaneous modification in xylan and lignin enhances cellulose content with improved saccharification efficiency. These modifications loosen cell wall complexity and hence resulted in enhanced xylose and xylobiose release with or without pretreatment after xylanase digestion in both parent and HrGHypAc. This study also revealed that the disruption of xylan and lignin structure is possible without compromising either growth and development or defense responses against Pseudomonas syringae infection.


Acetyl Xylan Esterase (AXE); G Lignin; Saccharification; Xylose release

Published in

Biotechnology for Biofuels and Bioproducts
2024, Volume: 17, number: 1, article number: 73
Publisher: BMC

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Renewable Bioenergy Research
    Plant Biotechnology

    Publication identifier


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