Chemical syntheses of caffeoyl and 5-OH coniferyl aldehydes and alcohols and determination of lignin O-methyltransferase activities in dicot and monocot species

Phytochemistry. 2001 Dec;58(7):1035-42. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9422(01)00391-0.


To investigate the substrate preferences of O-methyltransferases in the monolignol biosynthetic pathways, caffeoyl and 5-hydroxy coniferyl aldehydes were synthesized by a new procedure involving a Wittig reaction with the corresponding hydroxybenzaldehydes. The same procedure can also be used to synthesize caffeoyl and 5-hydroxyconiferyl alcohols. Relative O-methyltransferase activities against these substrates were determined using crude extracts and recombinant caffeic acid O-methyltransferase from alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and crude extracts from the model legume Medicago truncatula, tobacco, wheat and tall fescue. Extracts from all these species catalyzed methylation of the various monolignol aldehydes and alcohols more effectively than the corresponding hydroxycinnamic acids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohols / chemical synthesis*
  • Aldehydes / chemical synthesis*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Plants / enzymology*
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Alcohols
  • Aldehydes
  • Methyltransferases
  • caffeate O-methyltransferase