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Immunolocalization of cell wall polymers in grapevine (Vitis vinifera) internodes under nitrogen, phosphorus or sulfur deficiency


The impact on cell wall (CW) of the deficiency in nitrogen (–N), phosphorus (–P) or sulphur (–S), known to impair essential metabolic pathways, was investigated in the economically important fruit species Vitis vinifera L. Using cuttings as an experimental model a reduction in total internode number and altered xylem shape was observed. Under –N an increased internode length was also seen. CW composition, visualised after staining with calcofluor white, Toluidine blue and ruthenium red, showed decreased cellulose in all stresses and increased pectin content in recently formed internodes under –N compared to the control. Using CW-epitope specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), lower amounts of extensins incorporated in the wall were also observed under –N and –P conditions. Conversely, increased pectins with a low degree of methyl-esterification and richer in long linear 1,5-arabinan rhamnogalacturonan-I (RG-I) side chains were observed under –N and –P in mature internodes which, in the former condition, were able to form dimeric association through calcium ions. –N was the only condition in which 1,5-arabinan branched RG-I content was not altered, as –P and –S older internodes showed, respectively, lower and higher amounts of this polymer. Higher xyloglucan content in older internodes was also observed under –N. The results suggest that impairments of specific CW components led to changes in the deposition of other polymers to promote stiffening of the CW. The unchanged extensin amount observed under –S may contribute to attenuating the effects on the CW integrity caused by this stress. Our work showed that, in organized V. vinifera tissues, modifications in a given CW component can be compensated by synthesis of different polymers and/or alternative linking between polymers. The results also pinpoint different strategies at the CW level to overcome mineral stress depending on how essential they are to cell growth and plant development.

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Carbohydrate binding module


Cell wall




Glycosyl hydrolase family 9C




Top internode


Fourth internode


Absence of nitrogen


Monoclonal antibodies


Absence of phosphorous


Phosphate buffered saline

RG-I and -II:

Rhamnogalacturonans I and II


Absence of sulfur




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The research was funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) to CBAA (PestOE/AGR/UI0240/2011) and LEAF (Linking Landscape, Environment, Agriculture and Food) and Grant SFRH/BD/64047/2009 to JCF. The authors are pleased to acknowledge Profª. Leonor Morais and Vera Inácio for assistance in the fixation procedures and Engª. Teresa Quilhó for her support in the preparation of cross-sections.

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Correspondence to S. Amâncio.

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Fernandes, J.C., Goulao, L.F. & Amâncio, S. Immunolocalization of cell wall polymers in grapevine (Vitis vinifera) internodes under nitrogen, phosphorus or sulfur deficiency. J Plant Res 129, 1151–1163 (2016).

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  • Cell wall epitopes
  • Cellulose
  • Mineral stress
  • Pectin
  • Xyloglucan