Identification of Critical Mutation in a Novel Regulator of Lignin Synthesis in Poplar

The Science

Identify functional SNPs in Populus trichocarpa PtrEPSP-TF responsible for a novel transcriptional repressor regulating phenylpropanoid (PP) biosynthesis.

The Impact

  • Defined SNPs at the 142nd amino acid of PtrEPSP-TF as the primary determinator of function.
  • Uncovered 5 new TF negatively regulating PP biosynthesis.
  • Provides molecular targets for precision genome-editing to regulate PP biosynthesis to improve biomass feedstocks characteristics.


  • Used GWAS studies to predict high-impact SNPs in PtrEPSP-TF.
  • Characterized transgenic lines heterogeneously expressing PtrEPSP-TF and performed phenotypic and transcriptomic analyses to discover downstream regulators in the PP pathway.


Xie, M. et al. “Identification of functional single nucleotide polymorphism of Populus trichocarpa PtrEPSP-TF and determination of its transcriptional effect.” Plant Direct 4(1), 1–13 (2020). [DOI:10.1002/pld3.178]