DOE Bioenergy Center Characterizes Cell Wall Proteins in Poplar Tree

The Science

Developing improved plant feedstocks for bioenergy requires an understanding of plant growth and adaptation and knowledge of the underlying molecular pathways of plant cell wall biosynthesis. Scientists at the DOE Bioenergy Science Center (BESC) report the most comprehensive characterization to date of the proteome, or protein complement, of xylem tissues from poplar, a tree commonly cited as a promising feedstock for bioenergy. The study, featured on the cover of the journal Proteomics, used mass spectrometry-based proteomics as a tool to study wood and secondary cell wall formation. Approximately 6,000 proteins from developing poplar xylem tissue were isolated and identified. They included several newly identified proteins thought to regulate cell wall formation in woody tissues of poplar and many proteins of unknown function. Measuring differences in whole proteomes between different poplar variations will increase our understanding of the fundamental properties that underlie the recalcitrance of woody biomass to degradation. This technology will provide new pathways for the potential improvement of poplar as a bioenergy feedstock.

BER Program Manager

Kari Perez

U.S. Department of Energy, Biological and Environmental Research (SC-33)
Biological Systems Science Division
[email protected]


Kalluri, U. C., G. B. Hurst, P. K. Lankford, P. Ranjan, D. A. Pelletier. 2009. “Shotgun Proteome Profile of Populus Developing Xylem,” Proteomics 9(21), 4871-80. DOI:10.1002/pmic.200800854.