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Developmental regulation of pectic epitopes during potato tuberisation

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We show, by immunogold labelling, that potato (Solanum tuberosum L. cv Karnico) pectic epitopes are developmentally regulated within regions of the stolon, in addition to showing tissue-specific differences in abundance and localisation. The (1→4)-β-D-galactan and (1→5)-α-arabinan epitopes demarcate two distinct zones within stolons; galactans are enriched in primary walls of elongating cells proximal to the stolon hook, whilst arabinans predominate in younger cells distal to the hook. Low-methoxyl homogalacturonan epitopes are concentrated in the middle lamella and show a proximo-distal gradient in stolons similar to that of galactans, whilst high-methoxyl homogalacturonan is uniformly abundant. Calcium pectate is restricted to the middle lamella at cell corners and pit fields. Calcium-binding sites are uniformly present in stolon cell walls, but their total density is reduced and they become localised to a few cell corners in mature tubers, as determined by image-electron energy loss spectroscopy. During the transition from elongation growth to isodiametric expansion during tuberisation of the stolon hook, there were no detectable changes in pectic epitope abundance or localisation. As tubers matured, all epitopes increased in abundance in parenchymal cell walls, except for calcium pectate. We conclude that potentially significant changes in pectic composition occur as young cells distal to the stolon hook move into the zone of cell elongation proximal to the hook.

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Bush, M.S., Marry, M., Huxham, M.I. et al. Developmental regulation of pectic epitopes during potato tuberisation. Planta 213, 869–880 (2001).

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