Functions of Xyloglucan in Plant Cells

Hayashi, Takahisa; Kaida, Rumi
January 2011
Molecular Plant (Oxford University Press / USA);Jan2011, Vol. 4 Issue 1, p17
Academic Journal
While an increase in the number of xyloglucan tethers between the cellulose microfibrils in plant cell walls increases the walls’ rigidity, the degradation of these tethers causes the walls to loosen. Degradation can occur either through the integration of xyloglucan oligosaccharides due to the action of xyloglucan endotransglucosylase or through direct hydrolysis due to the action of xyloglucanase. This is why the addition of xyloglucan and its fragment oligosaccharides causes plant tissue tension to increase and decrease so dramatically. Experiments involving the overexpression of xyloglucanase and cellulase have revealed the roles of xyloglucans in the walls. The degradation of wall xyloglucan in poplar by the transgenic expression of xyloglucanase, for example, not only accelerated stem elongation in the primary wall, but also blocked upright-stem gravitropism in the secondary wall. Overexpression of cellulase also reduced xyloglucan content in the walls as cellulose microfibrils were trimmed at their amorphous region, resulting in increased cell volume in Arabidopsis leaves and in sengon with disturbed leaf movements. The hemicellulose xyloglucan, in its function as a tether, plays a key role in the loosening and tightening of cellulose microfibrils: it enables the cell to change its shape in growth and differentiation zones and to retain its final shape after cell maturation.


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