In vitro biosynthesis of 1,4-β-galactan attached to rhamnogalacturonan I
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The biosynthesis of galactan was investigated using microsomal membranes isolated from suspension-cultured cells of potato (Solanum tuberosum L. var. AZY). Incubation of the microsomal membranes in the presence of UDP-[14C]galactose resulted in a radioactive product insoluble in 70% methanol. The product released only [14C]galactose upon acid hydrolysis. Treatment of the product with Aspergillus niger endo-1,4-β-galactanase released 65–70% of the radioactivity to a 70%-methanol-soluble fraction. To a minor extent, [14C]galactose was also incorporated into proteins, however these galactoproteins were not a substrate for Aspergillus niger endo-1,4-β-galactanase. Thus, the majority of the 14C-labelled product was 1,4-β-galactan. Compounds released by the endo-1,4-β-galactanase treatment were mainly [14C]galactose and [14C]galactobiose, indicating that the synthesized 1,4-β-galactan was longer than a trimer. In vitro synthesis of 1,4-β-galactan was most active with 6-d-old cells, which are in the middle of the linear growth phase. The optimal synthesis occurred at pH 6.0 in the presence of 7.5 mM Mn2+. Aspergillus aculeatus rhamnogalacturonase A digested at least 50% of the labelled product to smaller fragments of approx. 14 kDa, suggesting that the synthesized [14C]galactan was attached to the endogenous rhamnogalacturonan I. When rhamnogalacturonase A digests of the labelled product were subsequently treated with endo-1,4-β-galactanase, radioactivity was not only found as [14C]galactose or [14C]galactobiose but also as larger fragments. The larger fragments were likely the [14C]galactose or [14C]galactobiose still attached to the rhamnogalacturonan backbone since treatment with β-galactosidase together with endo-1,4-β-galactanase digested all radioactivity to the fraction eluting as [14C]galactose. The data indicate that the majority of the [14C]galactan was attached directly to the rhamnose residues in rhamnogalacturonan I. Thus, isolated microsomal membranes contain enzyme activities to both initiate and elongate 1,4-β-galactan sidechains in the endogenous pectic rhamnogalacturonan I.
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