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Planta

, Volume 220, Issue 6, pp 889–899 | Cite as

Differential location of α-expansin proteins during the accommodation of root cells to an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus

  • R. Balestrini
  • D. J. Cosgrove
  • P. BonfanteEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

α-Expansins are extracellular proteins that increase plant cell-wall extensibility. We analysed their pattern of expression in cucumber roots in the presence and in the absence of the mycorrhizal fungus, Glomus versiforme. The distribution of α-expansins was investigated by use of two polyclonal antibodies (anti-EXPA1 and anti-EXPA2, prepared against two different cucumber α-expansins) in immunoblotting, immunofluorescence, and immunogold experiments. Immunoblot results indicate the presence of a 30-kDa band specific for mycorrhizal roots. The two antibodies identify antigens with a different distribution in mycorrhizal roots: anti-EXPA1 labels the interface zone, but the plant cell walls only weakly. By contrast, the anti-EXPA2 labels only the plant cell walls. In order to understand the potential role of α-expansins during the accommodation of the fungus inside root cells, we prepared semi-thin sections to measure the size of cortical cells and the thickness of cortical cell walls in mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal root. Mycorrhizal cortical cells were significantly larger than non-mycorrhizal cells and had thicker cell walls. In double-labelling experiments with cellobiohydrolase–gold complex, we observed that cellulose was co-localized with α-expansins. Taken together, the results demonstrate that α-expansins are more abundant in the cucumber cell walls upon mycorrhizal infection; we propose that these wall-loosening proteins are directly involved in the accommodation of the fungus by infected cortical cells.

Keywords

Arbuscular mycorrhizae Expansin Cell expansion Cellulose Cell wall 

Abbreviations

AM

Arbuscular mycorrhiza(l)

EXPA

α-Expansin

EXPB

β-Expansin

CBH

Cellobiohydrolase

XET

Xyloglucan endotransglycosylase

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the Italian FIRB Project (RBNE01KZE7), by IPP-CNR and CEBIOVEM (D.M. 193/2003) grants. Confocal and electron microscope facilities were available at LMA-Dipartimento di Biologia Vegetale dell’Università di Torino.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto per la Protezione delle Piante del CNRSezione di Micologia and Dipartimento di Biologia Vegetale dell’UniversitàTurinItaly
  2. 2.Department of BiologyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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