A multidisciplinary approach to understand the molecular basis of the heterogeneous cell wall composition in hemp stems


CALL: 2013

DOMAIN: SR - Sustainable Management and Valorization of Bioresources

FIRST NAME: Jean-François

LAST NAME: Hausman




KEYWORDS: Plant-sourced fibres, cell wall, phenylpropanoids, hemp, -omics approaches, molecular regulation, functional characterization

START: 2014-05-01

END: 2017-04-30

WEBSITE: https://www.list.lu/

Submitted Abstract

The use of plant-sourced products as alternatives to fossil carbon-based materials holds great value both for the environment and the economy. The progressive shift towards a bio-based economy is indeed witnessed by the increasing number of research programs interested in sustainable agriculture and renewable resources. Particularly relevant in this respect is a group of plants, collectively called fibre crops, which constitute relevant sources of lignocellulosic raw material. Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a historic fibre crop which besides supplying nutritionally relevant secondary metabolites, displays also several practical advantages, namely rapid growth, ecological adaptability and high yield of cellulosic fibres. This last feature is a direct consequence of the dramatically contrasting cell wall composition of hemp stems: the core is lignified, while the cortex is rich in cellulosic fibres. The core of the project CANCAN is to shed light on the physiological events which determine this contrasting cell wall composition, by putting a special emphasis on the cross-talk between phenylpropanoid pathway and cell wall formation.The anatomy of hemp stems makes them ideal for integration of different -omics approaches. During the first stage of CANCAN, the spatial distribution of cell wall polymers will be assessed using immunohistochemical techniques; subsequently, selected metabolites will be quantified and a global proteome and metabolomics study carried out. The focus of the proteomics study will also be on the analysis of posttranslational modifications. The expression of genes, pivotal in cell wall biosynthesis, will be quantified and a subset of target genes will be characterized at the functional level. Finally, artificial induction of lignification through the selective use of plant growth regulators will be carried out to confirm the role of the previously identified genes/proteins in lignin deposition. This stage has also a direct practical implication, as it provides a way to enhance the deposition of woody fibres, which are known to display desirable physical property as material for the construction sector.

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