Cryptomeria fortunei, also known as the Chinese cedar, is an important timber species in southern China. The primary component of its woody tissues is lignin, mainly present in secondary cell walls. Therefore, continuous lignin synthesis is crucial for wood formation. In this study, we aimed to discover key genes involved in lignin synthesis expressed in the vascular cambium of C. fortunei. Through transcriptome sequencing, we detected expression of two genes, 4CL and CCoAOMT, known to be homologous to enzymes involved in the lignin synthesis pathway. We studied the function of these genes through bioinformatics analysis, cloning, vascular cambium expression analysis, and transgenic cross-species functional validation studies. Our results show that Cf4CL and CfCCoAOMT do indeed function in the pathway of lignin synthesis and likely perform this function in C. fortunei. They are prime candidates for future (gene-editing) studies aimed at optimizing C. fortunei wood production.
Keywords: Cryptomeria fortunei; expression analysis; functional verification; gene cloning; lignin synthetase.