, Volume 224, Issue 1, pp 163-174

Enzymatic fingerprinting of Arabidopsis pectic polysaccharides using polysaccharide analysis by carbohydrate gel electrophoresis (PACE)

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Plant cell wall polysaccharides vary in quantity and structure between different organs and during development. However, quantitative analysis of individual polysaccharides remains challenging, and relatively little is known about any such variation in polysaccharides in organs of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. We have analysed plant cell wall pectic polysaccharides using polysaccharide analysis by carbohydrate gel electrophoresis. By highly specific enzymatic digestion of a polysaccharide in a cell wall preparation, a unique fingerprint of short oligosaccharides was produced. These oligosaccharides gave quantitative and structural information on the original polysaccharide chain. We analysed enzyme-accessible polygalacturonan (PGA), linear β(1,4) galactan and linear α(1,5) arabinan in several organs of Arabidopsis: roots, young leaves, old leaves, lower and upper inflorescence stems, seeds and callus. We found that this PGA constitutes a high proportion of cell wall material (CWM), up to 15% depending on the organ. In all organs, between 60 and 80% of the PGA was highly esterified in a blockwise fashion, and surprisingly, dispersely esterified PGA was hardly detected. We found enzyme-accessible linear galactan and arabinan are both present as a minor polysaccharide in all the organs. The amount of galactan ranged from ~0.04 to 0.25% of CWM, and linear arabinan constituted between 0.015 and 0.1%. Higher levels of galactan correlated with expanding tissues, supporting the hypothesis that this polysaccharide is involved in wall extension. We show by analysis of mur4 that the methods and results presented here also provide a basis for studies of pectic polysaccharides in Arabidopsis mutants.