Solid-state NMR of unlabeled plant cell walls: high-resolution structural analysis without isotopic enrichment

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© 2021, The Author(s). Background: Multidimensional solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR) spectroscopy has emerged as an indispensable technique for resolving polymer structure and intermolecular packing in primary and secondary plant cell walls. Isotope (13C) enrichment provides feasible sensitivity for measuring 2D/3D correlation spectra, but this time-consuming procedure and its associated expenses have restricted the application of ssNMR in lignocellulose analysis. Results: Here, we present a method that relies on the sensitivity-enhancing technique Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP) to eliminate the need for 13C-labeling. With a 26-fold sensitivity enhancement, a series of 2D 13C–13C correlation spectra were successfully collected using the unlabeled stems of wild-type Oryza sativa (rice). The atomic resolution allows us to observe a large number of intramolecular cross peaks for fully revealing the polymorphic structure of cellulose and xylan. NMR relaxation and dipolar order parameters further suggest a sophisticated change of molecular motions in a ctl1 ctl2 double mutant: both cellulose and xylan have become more dynamic on the nanosecond and microsecond timescale, but the motional amplitudes are uniformly small for both polysaccharides. Conclusions: By skipping isotopic labeling, the DNP strategy demonstrated here is universally extendable to all lignocellulose materials. This time-efficient method has landed the technical foundation for understanding polysaccharide structure and cell wall assembly in a large variety of plant tissues and species.

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Biotechnology for Biofuels

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