Identification and partial characterisation of a coniferyl alcohol oxidase from lignifying xylem of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis)

A. Richardson, D. Stewart, G.J. McDougall

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    Oxidase activity in the developing xylem of branches of Sitka spruce [Picea sitchensis] (Bong) Carr. was expressed in synchrony with the deposition of lignin. The activity was closely associated with the cell wall but it could be extracted by elution with salt solutions such as 1?M?NaCl or CaCl2. A number of different oxidase isoforms with isoelectric points in the range 8–5 were present in these cell wall extracts. These enzymes displayed a marked preference for the oxidation of coniferyl alcohol and efficiently initiated polymerization of coniferyl alcohol into insoluble, lignin-like polymers. They also had a substrate preference and profile of sensitivity to inhibitors that was dissimilar to those reported for classical catechol oxidase or laccase-type polyphenol oxidases. A novel procedure that combines extraction and affinity chromatography on Concanavalin-A to select high-mannose-type glycoproteins provided oxidase activity at higher purity and yield than previously used methods. A single band of oxidase activity (apparent Mr approx. 84 kDa) which was capable of oxidizing a-naphthol/N,N,N'N'-tetramethyl p-phenylene diamine in the absence of added hydrogen peroxide was detected in these cell wall extracts using non-denaturing sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The addition of hydrogen peroxide did not intensify the staining of this band but it confirmed the presence of a true peroxidase band of apparent Mr approx. 40 kDa. The properties of this coniferyl alcohol oxidase are different from those of laccase-type polyphenol oxidases (EC previously implicated in lignin deposition in tree species, and their possible roles in this process are discussed.
    © Springer-Verlag
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)35-43
    Number of pages9
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


    • cell wall
    • coniferyl alcohol oxidase
    • lignification
    • peroxidase
    • picea (lignification)
    • xylem


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