Boron Function in Plant Cell Walls

Research progress since 1997
  • Toru Matoh
  • Masaru Kobayashi


Warington (1923) conducted convincing experiments that B is an essential element for higher plants. Seventy-eight years have passed, however the mode of action of B on plant metabolism is still unknown. A close association of B with cell wall pectic polysaccharides has been reported by several authors (Smith, 1944; Yamanouchi, 1971; Yamauchi et al., 1986; Hu and Brown, 1994). Matoh et al. (1993) first isolated a particular B-polysaccharide complex from cell walls and the polysaccharide moiety of the complex was then identified as a pectic polysaccharide, rhamnogalacturonan II (RG-II) (Kobayashi et al., 1995, Kobayashi et al., 1996). RG-II, first isolated as a component of pectic polysaccharides from the primary cell walls of cultured sycamore cells by Darvill et al. (1978), has the richest diversity of sugars and linkage structures known (Fig. 1). The backbone of RG-II is composed of at least seven a-1,4-linked galacturonic acid residues (Thomas et al., 1989) and a variety of oligosaccharide side chains are attached to the backbone. The side chain sugar residues are characterized by rare sugars such as aceric acid, apiose, 2-keto-3-deoxysugars, O-methylfucose, and O-methyl xylose. As RG-II is one region of a long chain of pectic polysaccharides and the isolated B complexes are comprised of two chains of RG-II cross-linked with boric acid, two pectic chains are cross-linked in the RG-II region with boric acid to form a supramolecular network.


Cell Wall Boric Acid Plant Cell Wall Sugar Beet Pulp Pectic Polysaccharide 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Blevins, D. G., and Lukaszewski, K. M., 1998, Boron in plant structure and function. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol Plant Mol.Biol. 49: 481–500.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dannel, T., Pfeffer, H., and Roemheld, V., 1998, Compartmentation of boron in roots and leaves of sunflower as affected by boron supply. J. Plant Physiol. 153:615–622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Darvill, A.G., McNeil, M., and Albersheim, P., 1978, Structure of plant cell walls. VIII. A new pectic polysaccharide. Plant Physiol. 62: 418–422.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Demarty, M., Morvan, C, and Thellier, M., 1984, Calcium and the cell wall. Plant Cell Environ. 7:441–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fleischer, A., O’Neill M.A., and Ehwald, R., 1999, The pore size of non-graminaceous plant cell walls is rapidly decreased by borate ester cross-linking of the pectic polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan II. Plant Physiol. 121:829–838.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fleischer, A., Titel, C, and Ehwald, R., 1998, The boron requirement and cell wall properties of growing and stationary suspension-cultured Chenopodium album L. cells. Plant Physiol. 117: 1401–1410.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fry, S.C., 1986, Cross-linking of matrix polymers in the growing cell walls of angiosperms. Ann. Rev. Plant Physiol. 37: 165–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Grant, G.T., Morris, E.R., Rees, D.A., Smith, P.J.C., and Thorm, D., 1973, Biological interactions between polysaccharides and divalent cations: The egg-box model. FEBS Lett. 32: 195–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Garcia-Gonzalez, M., Mateo, P., and Bonilla, I., 1991, Boron requirement for envelope structure and function in Anabaena PCC 7119 heterocysts. J. Exp. Bot. 42: 925–929.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Grignon, C., and Sentenac, H. 1991, pH and ionic conditions in the apoplast. Ann. Rev. Plant Physiol. Plant Mol. Biol. 42: 103–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hart D.A., and Kindel, P., 1970, Isolation and partial characterization of Apiogalacturonans from the cell wall of Lemna minor. Biochem J. 116: 569–579.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Hirsch, A.M., and Torrey, J.G., 1980, Ultrastructural changes in sunflower root cells in relation to boron deficiency and added auxin. Can. J. Bot. 58: 856–866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hu, H., and Brown, P.H., 1994, Localization of boron in cell walls of squash and tobacco and its association with pectin. Evidence for a structural role of boron in the cell wall. Plant Physiol. 105:681–689.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Ishii, T., Matsunaga, T., Pellerin, P., O’Neill, M.A., Darvill, A., and Albersheim, P., 1999, The plant cell wall polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan II self-assembles into a covalently cross-linked dimer. J.Biol. Chem. 274: 13098–13104.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ishii, T., and Matsunaga, T., 1996, Isolation and characterization of a boron- rhamnogalacturonan-II complex from cell walls of sugar beet pulp. Carbohydr. Res. 284: 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jarvis, M.C., 1982, The proportion of calcium-bound pectin in plant cell walls. Planta 154: 344–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kaneko, S., Ishii, T., and Matsunaga, T., 1997, A boron-rhamnogalacturonan-II complex from bamboo shoot cell walls. Phytochemistry 44: 243–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kobayashi, M., Matoh, T., and Azuma, J., 1995, Structure and glycosyl composition of the boron-polysaccharide complex of radish roots. Plant Cell Physiol. 36S: 139.Google Scholar
  19. Kobayashi, M., Matoh, T., and Azuma, J., 1996, Two chains of rhamnogalacturonan II are cross-linked by borate-diol ester bonds in higher plant cell walls. Plant Physiol. 110: 1017–1020.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Kobayashi, M., Nakagawa, H., Asaka, T., and Matoh, T., 1999, Borate-rhamnogalacturonan II bonding reinforced by Ca2+ retains pectic polysaccharides in higher-plant cell walls. Plant Physiol. 119: 199–203.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kobayashi, M., Ohno, K., and Matoh, T., 1997, Boron nutrition of cultured tobacco BY-2 cells. II. Characterization of the boron-polysaccharide complex. Plant Cell Physiol. 38: 676–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lewin J., and Chen, C.H., 1976, Effects of boron deficiency on the chemical composition of a marine diatom. J. Exp. Bot. 27: 916–921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lewis, D.H., 1980, Boron, lignification and the origin of vascular plants -A unified hypothesis. New Phytol. 84:209–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Loomis, W.D., and Durst, R.W., 1992, Chemistry and biology of boron. BioFactors 3: 229– 239.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Lukaszewski, K.M., and Blevins D.G., 1996, Root growth inhibition in boron-deficient or aluminum-stressed squash may be a result of impaired ascorbate metabolism. Plant Physiol. 112: 1135–1140.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Mateo, P., Bonilla, I., Fernandez-Valiente, E., and Sanchez-Maeso, E., 1986, Essentiality of boron for dinitrogen fixation in Anabaena sp. PCC 7119. Plant Physiol 91: 430–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Matoh, T., 1997, Boron in plant cell walls. Plant Soil 193: 59–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Matoh, T., Ishigaki, K., Ohno, K., and Azuma, J., 1993, Isolation and characterization of a boron-polysaccharide complex from radish roots. Plant Cell Physiol. 34: 639–642.Google Scholar
  29. Matoh, T., Kawaguchi, S., and Kobayashi, M, 1996, Ubiquity of a borate- rhamnogalacturonan II complex in the cell walls of higher plants. Plant Cell Physiol. 37: 636–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Matoh, T., Matsuda, A., Akaike, R., Hara, Y., and Kobayashi M., 2001, Increased supply of boron to Swiss chard plants did not affect the level of boron in a cell-wall bound form. Soil Sci Plant Nutr. 47: (in press).Google Scholar
  31. Matoh, T., Takasaki, M., Kawaguchi, S., and Kobayashi, M., 1998, Immunocytochemistry of rhamnogalacturonan II in cell walls of higher plant. Plant Cell Physiol. 39: 483–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Matoh, T., Takasaki, M., Kobayashi, M., and Takabe, K., 2000, Boron nutrition of cultured tobacco BY-2 cells. III. Characterization of the boron-rhamnogalacturonan II complex in cells acclimated to low levels of boron. Plant Cell Physiol. 41: 363–366.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Matsunaga, T., Ishii, T., and Watanabe-Oda, H., 1997, HPLC/ICP-MS study of metals bound to borate-rhamnogalacturonan-II from plant cell walls. In Plant Nutrition-For Sustainable Food Production and Environment, T. Ando et al. eds, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Tokyo, pp. 81–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Muling, K.H., Wimmer, M., and Goldbach, H.E., 1998, Apoplastic and membrane-associated Ca2+ in leaves and roots as affected by boron deficiency. Physiol Plant. 102: 179–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Neales, T.F., 1967, The boron nutrition of the diatom, Cylindrotheca fusiformis, grown on agar, and the biological activity of some substituted phenylboronic acids. Aust. J. Biol. Sci. 20: 67–76.Google Scholar
  36. O’Neill, M.A., Warrenfeltz, D., Kates, K., Pellerin, P., Doco, T., Darvill, A.G., and Albersheim, P., 1996, Rhamnogalacturonan-II, a pectic polysaccharide in the walls of growing plant cells, forms a dimer that is covalently cross-linked by a borate ester. J. Biol. Chem. 271: 22923–22930.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ovodov, Y.S., Ovodova, R.G., Bondarenko, O.D., and Kraskikova, I.N., 1971, The pectic substances of Zosteraceae. Part IV. Pectinase digestion of zosterine. Carbohydr. Res. 18: 311–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Puvanesarajah, V., Darvill, A.G., and Albersheim, P., 1991, Structural characterization of two oligosaccharide fragments formed by the selective cleavage of rhamnogalacturonan II: evidence for the anomeric configuration and attachment sites of apiose and 3-deoxy-2- heptulosaric acid. Carbohydr. Res. 218: 211–222.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Raetz, C.R., 1990, Biochemistry of endotoxins. Annu. Rev. Biochem. 59: 129–170.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Shin, K.S., Kiyohara, H., Matsumoto, T., and Yamada, H., 1998, Rhamnogalacturonan II dimers cross-linked by borate diesters from the leaves of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer are responsible for expression of their IL-6 production enhancing activities. Carbohydr. Res. 307:97–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shive, J.B.Jr., and Barnett, N.M., 1973, Boron deficiency effects on peroxidase, hydroxyproline, and boron in cell walls and cytoplasm of Helianthus annuus L. hypocotyls. Plant Cell Physiol. 14: 573–583.Google Scholar
  42. Skok, J., and McIlrath, W.J., 1958, Distribution of boron in cells of dicotyledonous plants in relation to growth. Plant Physiol. 33: 428–431.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Smith, M.E., 1944, The role of boron in plant metabolism. 1. Boron in relation to the absorption and solubility of calcium. Aust. J. Exp. Biol. Med. Sci. 22: 257–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Smyth, D.A., and Dugger, W.M., 1981, Cellular changes during boron-deficient culture of the diatom Cylindorotheca fusiformis. Physiol Plant. 51: 111–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Teasdale, R.D., and Richards, D.K., 1990, Boron deficiency in cultured pine cells. Quantitative studies of the interaction with Ca and Mg. Plant Physiol. 93: 1071–1077.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tibbits, C.W., MacDougall, A.J., and Ring, S.G., 1998, Calcium binding and swelling behaviour of a high methoxyl pectin gel. Carbohydr. Res. 310: 101–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Thomas, J.R., Darvill, A.G., and Albersheim, P., 1989, Isolation and structural characterization of the pectic polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan II from walls of suspension-cultured rice cells. Carbohydr. Res. 185: 261–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Warington, K., 1923, The effect of boric acid and borax on the broad bean and certain other plants. Ann. Bot. 37: 629–672.Google Scholar
  49. Yamanouchi, M., 1971, The role of boron in higher plants I. The relations between boron and calcium or the pectic substance in plants. J. Soil Sci. Manure Jpn. 42: 207–213.Google Scholar
  50. Yamauchi, T., Hara, T., and Sonoda, Y., 1986, Distribution of calcium and boron in the pectin fraction of tomato leaf cell wall. Plant Cell Physiol. 27: 729–732.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toru Matoh
  • Masaru Kobayashi
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Nutrition, Division of Applied Life Sciences, Graduate School of AgricultureKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations