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, 167 (2), 196-205

Tissue-distribution of Secondary Phenolic Biosynthesis in Developing Primary Leaves of Avena Sativa L


Tissue-distribution of Secondary Phenolic Biosynthesis in Developing Primary Leaves of Avena Sativa L

W Knogge et al. Planta.


Primary leaves of oats (Avena sativa L.) have been used to study the integration of secondary phenolic metabolism into organ differentiation and development. In particular, the tissue-specific distribution of products and enzymes involved in their biosynthesis has been investigated. C-Glucosylflavones along with minor amounts of hydroxycinnamic-acid esters constitute the soluble phenolic compounds in these leaves. In addition, considerable amounts of insoluble products such as lignin and wall-bound ferulic-acid esters are formed. The tissue-specific activities of seven enzymes were determined in different stages of leaf growth. The rate-limiting enzyme of flavonoid biosynthesis in this system, chalcone synthase, together with chalcone isomerase (EC and the terminal enzymes of the vitexin and isovitexin branches of the pathway (a flavonoid O-methyltransferase and an isovitexin arabinosyltransferase) are located in the leaf mesophyll. Since the flavonoids accumulate predominantly (up to 70%) in both epidermal layers, an intercellular transport of products is postulated. In contrast to the flavonoid enzymes, L-phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (EC, 4-coumarate: CoA ligase (EC, and S-adenosyl-L-methionine: caffeate 3-O-methyltransferase (EC 2.1.1.-), all involved in general phenylpropanoid metabolism, showed highest activities in the basal leaf region as well as in the epidermis and the vascular bundles. We suggest that these latter enzymes participate mainly in the biosynthesis of non-flavonoid phenolic products, such as lignin in the xylem tissue and wall-bound hydroxycinnamic acid-esters in epidermal, phloem, and sclerenchyma tissues.

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