JBEI & UniMelb GT Collection

The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) was established in 2007 to research the production of advanced biofuels from ligno-cellulosic material as part of the Bioenergy Research Center program by the Office of Science at the Department of Energy.

To accelerate both the manipulation and our understanding of ligno-cellulosic material, JBEI sought to create a collection of all glycosyltransferases (GTs) from the reference plants Arabidopsis (dicot) and rice (monocot). Plants contain large families of glycosyltransferases, the majority of which have no known function. Glycosyltransferases catalyze the transfer of sugar moieties within the plant cell and multiple GT gene families are directly responsible for the production of ligno-cellulosic material. This material or biomass will provide the feedstock for the development of advanced biofuels.

The JBEI GT Collection has now been published in The Plant Journal: Lao et al., (2014) 79:517-29.

Arabidopsis GTs

The genome sequence and initial annotation for the model plant Arabidopsis was completed in 2000. For the past decade, the Arabidopsis community has provided extensive updates for this initial annotation. The Arabidopsis Information Resource (TAIR) provided the latest annotation in November 2010 (TAIR10) and comprised the underlying gene models for the high-throughput cloning of the JBEI Arabidopsis GT collection. The glycosyltransferases targeted for cloning were defined by the Carbohydrate-Active enZYmes Database (CAZy) and cross referenced against TAIR10 and comprise 460 loci (CAZy) and 98 (CAZy not classified).

Rice GTs

The genome sequence for the model grass species rice was completed in 2002. Extensive improvements to this initial annotation have subsequently occurred; current annotations are available through the Rice Genome Annotation Project and the Rice Annotation Project (RAP). The Rice Annotation Project and the Rice Genome Annotation Project represent the underlying gene models for the cloning of the JBEI Rice GT collection. The glycosyltransferase genes were defined by the Carbohydrate-Active enZYmes Database (CAZy) and the Rice GT Database. The number of rice glycosyltransferases comprise 622 gene loci.

Other Plant GTs

While it is envisioned that the Arabidopsis and rice collections will enable insights into plant GTs, it is possible that collections for other plant species will be developed in the future.