Walls isolated from cucumber hypocotyls retain autolytic activities and the ability to extend when placed under the appropriate conditions. To test whether autolysis and extension are related, we treated the walls in various ways to enhance or inhibit long-term wall extension ('creep') and measured autolysis as release of various saccharides from the wall. Except for some non-specific inhibitors of enzymatic activity, we found no correlation between wall extension and wall autolysis. Most notably, autolysis and extension differed strongly in their pH dependence. We also found that exogenous cellulases and pectinases enhanced extension in native walls, but when applied to walls previously inactivated with heat or protease these enzymes caused breakage without sustained extension. In contrast, pretreatment of walls with pectinase or cellulase, followed by boiling in methanol to inactivate the enzymes, resulted in walls with much stronger expansin-mediated extension responses. Crude protein preparations from the digestive tracts of snails enhanced extension of both native and inactivated walls, and these preparations contained expansin-like proteins (assessed by Western blotting). Our results indicate that the extension of isolated cucumber walls does not depend directly on the activity of endogenous wall-bound autolytic enzymes. The results with exogenous enzymes suggest that the hydrolysis of matrix polysaccharides may not induce wall creep by itself, but may act synergistically with expansins to enhance wall extension.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science