Abiotic Stress/Whole Plant Bio


CS-19-6 - Characterizing Effect of Lignin Modification on Sorghum Root system

Monday, July 16
4:58 PM - 5:00 PM

Lignin, the second most abundant natural polymer after cellulose is an important plant cell wall component. Due to the mechanical strength provided by lignin, plants are able to stand, conduct water through xylem vessels and defend against pests and microorganisms. Plants are known to alter lignin biosynthesis in response to various biotic and abiotic stresses. Lignin is a highly branched polymer comprising of monolignol subunits synthesized through polypropanoid pathway, a multistep process involving various enzymes. Changes at any step in the pathway results in reduced lignin content and altered lignin composition. The present study is aimed at evaluating the consequences of loss of function mutations in two enzymes, cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) or caffeic O-methyltransferase (COMT) involved at final and penultimate step, respectively in the pathway, on sorghum root system architecture. Sorghum CAD and COMT mutants were subjected to well-watered and water limited conditions during early seedling stage followed by physiological, histochemical and image based phenotypic evaluation of the root system. Mutants responded differently from wildtype, adapting to more conservative approach and showed modifications in root architecture and anatomy in response to water stress. Long term effects of these root modifications and genetic factors that helps a plant to modify its anatomy and architecture under water stress is still under study. This study can help to identify key components that can be targeted to sustain reasonable biomass production under water limited conditions.


Harkamal Walia, Associate Professor – Associate Professor, Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska Lincoln Scott Sattler, Research Molecular Biologist – ARS, wheat, sorghum and forage research, USDA

Manny Saluja

Graduate Student Assistant
University of Nebraska Lincoln


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CS-19-6 - Characterizing Effect of Lignin Modification on Sorghum Root system

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