, Volume 212, Issue 3, pp 348-358

Altered pectin composition in primary cell walls of korrigan, a dwarf mutant of Arabidopsis deficient in a membrane-bound endo-1,4-β-glucanase

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Korrigan (kor) is a dwarf mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. that is deficient in a membrane-bound endo-1,4-β-glucanase. The effect of the mutation on the pectin network has been studied in kor by microscopical techniques associated with various probes specific for different classes of pectic polysaccharides. The localisation of native crystalline cellulose was also examined using the cellobiohydrolase I-gold probe. The investigations were focused on the external cell walls of the epidermis, a cell layer that, in a number of plant species, has been shown to be growth limiting. Anionic sites associated with pectic polymers were quantified using the cationic gold probe. Homogalacturonans were quantified using polyclonal anti-polygalacturonic acid/rhamnogalacturonan I antibodies recognising polygalacturonic acid, and monoclonal JIM7 and JIM5 antibodies recognising homogalacturonans with a high or low degree of methyl-esterification, respectively. Rhamnogalacturonans were quantified with two monoclonal antibodies, LM5, recognising β-1,4 galactan side chains of rhamnogalacturonan I, and CCRCM2. Our results show a marked increase in homogalacturonan epitopes and a decrease in rhamnogalacturonan epitopes in kor compared to the wild type. A substantial decrease in cellobiohydrolase I-gold labelling was also observed in the mutant cell walls. These findings demonstrate that a deficiency in an endo-1,4-β-glucanase, which is in principle not directly implicated in pectin metabolism, can induce important changes in pectin composition in the primary cell wall. The changes indicate the existence of feedback mechanisms controlling the synthesis and/or deposition of pectic polysaccharides in primary cell walls.

Received: 9 March 2000 / Accepted: 24 August 2000