Chin Bull Bot ›› 2017, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (3): 358-374.doi: 10.11983/CBB16068

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Research Progress on Constituents, Histochemical Characteristics and Biosynthesis of Suberin

Xueyuan Han, Linchun Mao*   

  1. Zhejiang Key Laboratory of Agro-Food Processing, Key Laboratory of Postharvest Handling Agro-Products for Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
  • Received:2016-04-01 Accepted:2016-06-24 Online:2017-05-27 Published:2017-05-01
  • Contact: Mao Linchun
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors


Located between the cell wall and plasma membrane as a secondary metabolite, suberin typically distributes in rhizodermis and the boundary tissue of stems. Based on glycerol, suberin is a heteropolymer composed of polya- liphatics and polyaromatics, and it could slow the outflow of water and nutrient substance, limit pathogen invasion and prevent toxic gas from diffusing to plants. Recently, with people’s focus on the storage and processing of fruits and vegetables, as well plant resistance, the research in suberin is increasing, especially in the aspects of metabolic enzymes and corresponding genes and the metabolite’s function. In this paper, we elaborate the research progress in suberin histochemistry, the biosynthesis pathway as well related enzymes and genes. We introduce recent advances in the transport of suberin components intracellularly and to the cell wall, polymer assembly, and the regulation of suberin deposition and present the research development of suberin physiological function. This research is expected to provide significant information for further research and application of suberin.

Figure 1

Sites of suberin deposition in different developmental stages of roots (modified from Vishwanath et al., 2015)The diagrams show the root cross-sections of typical dicot plants (e.g. Arabidopsis thaliana). (A) Primary growth stage of cell wall during endodermis development with suberin lamellae deposition in the inner face of endodermal cell walls (yellow) and deposition of Casparian bands (red) localized at endodermal cell-cell junctions (ML: Middle lamellae; PW: Primary cell wall; SL: Suberin lamellae; PM: Plasma membrane; Cy: Cytoplasm); (B) Secondary growth stage with suberin deposition in the phellem/cork cells (periderms)"

Figure 2

Overview of the suberin biosynthetic pathway with subsequent transport to the cell wallFatty acids are synthesed in the cytoplasm, activated into fatty acyl-CoAs by fatty acid-CoA ligase (FACL) and long chain acyl-CoA synthetases (LACSs), and then modified by series suberin biosynthetic enzymes. Fatty acyl elongation is controlled via the fatty acid elongation (FAE) complex producing very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs); acyl reduction by fatty acyl reductases (FARs) producing fatty alcohol and α, ω-diols; fatty acyl oxidation by cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs) producing ω-hydroxy fatty acids (ω-OHs) and α, ω-dicarboxylic acids (DCAs); ω-OHs could be also further oxidized to DCAs by P450s; and esterification of ω-OHs and DCAs by glycerol 3-phosphate acyltransferases (GPATs) producing sn-2 monoacylglycerols. ATP-binding- cassette (ABC) transporters are involved in transport of suberin monomers across the plasma membrane. Polyester synthase(s) (PS) may extend sn-2 monoacylglycerols with other suberin monomers to eventually gather into high molecular weight polyesters. With the catalytic action of phenylalnine ammonialyase (PAL) and other related enzymes, phenylalanine metabolic pathways provide coumaric, caffeic, and ferulic acids, which then are transformed to feruloyl-CoA by acyltransferase. Moreover, feruloyl-CoA is linked with fatty alcohols, α, ω-diols and monoacylglycerols through aliphatic suberin feruloyl transferase (ASFT), to finally produce esters."

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