The mechanism of monolignol transportation from the cytosol to the apoplast is still unclear despite being an essential step of lignification. Recently, ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters were suggested to be involved in monolignol transport. However, there are no reliable clues to the transporters of the major lignin monomers coniferyl and synapyl alcohol. In this study, the lignification progress of Arabidopsis cultured cells during tracheary element differentiation was monitored. The expression of selected transporter genes, as well as lignification and cell-wall formation related genes as references, in differentiating cultured cell samples harvested at 2-day intervals was analyzed by real-time PCR and the data were statistically processed. The cell wall formation transcription factor MYB46, programmed-cell death related gene XCP1 and lignin polymerization peroxidase AtPrx25 were classified into the same cluster. Furthermore, the cluster closest to the abovementioned cluster contained the lignin synthesis transcription factor MYB58 and the Arabidopsis ABC transporters ABCG11, ABCG22, ABCG36 and ABCG29. This result suggested that these four ABC transporters may be involved in lignification. In the expression analysis, unexpectedly, the lignification-related genes CAD5 and C4H were not included in the same cluster as MYB58 and AtPrx25. The expression data also suggested that the lignification of tracheary elements in the culture, where lignification ratio finally reached to around 40%, continued after cell death because lignification actively progressed after programmed cell death-related gene started to be expressed.
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