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Mon Jul 13 06:36:16 EST 1992

In regards to recent questions expressing interest in the nature of suberin:
Suberin is a heteropolymer consisting of aliphatic and aromatic domains
synthesized in a lamellar-like fashion within the cell walls in specific
tissues of vascular plants.  Present dogma suggests that the aromatic
domain of suberin is a polymer of hydroxycinnamyl alcohols synthesized and
having a structure similar (if not identical) to lignin.  The aliphatic
domain is said to be a polyester of acyl alcohols.  As it stands, the
linkages between the two domains remain unknown, despite the fact that
structural models for suberin have been presented (see references below).
The biosynthetic origins, and for that matter the exact chemical structure , of
suberin is presently a matter of debate although the monolignol biosynthetic
pathway has been implicated.  Presently, the Lewis group in Pullman, WA is
conducting a number of studies to better elucidate the structure of this
complex polymer and its biogenic origins.  The post-doc working on this is
Mark Bernards and he can be reached at BERNARDS at WSUVM1.CSC.WSU.EDU
Mark is really receptive to any questions in this area and can fill you in
on the ongoing debate regarding the contentious issues of suberin structure
and biosynthesis.
If, however, you just want to be up to date on the dogma, I suggest:
Kolattukudy and Espelie (1985) Biosynthesis of cutin, suberin and associated
waxes. _in_ Biosynthesis and Biodegradation of Wood Components (Higuchi, ed)
Academic Press
Kolattukudy (1984) Biochemistry and function of cutin and suberin. Can. J. Bot.
There is also an excellent review of suberin in Annu rev plant physiol (also
by Kolattukudy) from 1987 (I think
I hope this 'chemical' definition helps.  If you're looking for a more
'functional' definition, give me a shout.  I'm only too happy to help
someone interested in the _truly_ important part of the plant cell - the
cell wall (;-)).
Long live Helen Stafford!
Malcolm Campbell
Equipe lignin
Centre de Physiologie Vegetale
Toulouse, FRANCE

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