We report the identification of six genetic loci and the allelic-variants associated with Populus cell wall phenotypes determined independently using pyrolysis Molecular Beam Mass Spectrometry (pyMBMS), saccharification assay and wet chemistry in two partially overlapping populations of P. trichocarpa genotypes sampled from multiple environments in the Pacific Northwest of North America. All 6 variants co-located with a quantitative trait locus (QTL) hotspot on chromosome XIV for lignin content, syringyl to guaiacyl (S/G) ratio, 5- and 6- carbon sugars identified in an interspecific P. trichocarpa x P. deltoides pseudo-backcross mapping pedigree. Genomic intervals containing an amino acid transporter, a MYB transcription factor, an angustifolia CtBP transcription factor, a copper transport protein ATOX1-related, a Ca<
transporting ATPase and a protein kinase were identified within 5 QTL regions. Each interval contained single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were significantly associated to cell-wall phenotypes, with associations exceeding the chromosome-wise Bonferroni-adjusted p-values in at least one environment. cDNA sequencing for allelic variants of 3 of the 6 genes identified polymorphisms leading to premature stop codons in the MYB transcription factor and protein kinase. On the other hand, variants of the Angustifolia CtBP transcription factor exhibited a polyglutamine (PolyQ) length polymorphism. Results from transient protoplast assays suggested that each of the polymorphisms conferred allelic differences in activation of cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin pathway marker genes, with truncated and short PolyQ alleles exhibiting significantly reduced marker gene activation. Genes identified in this study represent novel targets for reducing cell wall recalcitrance for lignocellulosic biofuels production using plant biomass.
59 basic biological sciences-- Association genetics-- Cell wall recalcitrance-- Lignin-- Qtl cloning-