Pectin is the most abundant component of primary cell walls in eudicot plants. The modification and degradation of pectin affects multiple processes during plant development, including cell expansion, organ initiation, and cell separation. However, the extent to which pectin degradation by polygalacturonases affects stem development and secondary wall formation remains unclear. Using an activation tag screen, we identified a transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana line with longer etiolated hypocotyls, which overexpresses a gene encoding a polygalacturonase. We designated this gene as POLYGALACTURONASE INVOLVED IN EXPANSION2 (PGX2), and the corresponding activation tagged line as PGX2AT. PGX2 is widely expressed in young seedlings and in roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and siliques of adult plants. PGX2-GFP localizes to the cell wall, and PGX2AT plants show higher total polygalacturonase activity and smaller pectin molecular masses than wild-type controls, supporting a function for this protein in apoplastic pectin degradation. A heterologously expressed, truncated version of PGX2 also displays polygalacturonase activity in vitro. Like previously identified PGX1AT plants, PGX2AT plants have longer hypocotyls and larger rosette leaves, but they also uniquely display early flowering, earlier stem lignification, and lodging stems with enhanced mechanical stiffness that is possibly due to decreased stem thickness. Together, these results indicate that PGX2 both functions in cell expansion and influences secondary wall formation, providing a possible link between these two developmental processes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology