Xyloglucan endotransglucosylase/hydrolases (XTHs) are cell wall-modifying enzymes that align within three or four distinct phylogenetic subgroups. One explanation for this grouping is association with different enzymic modes of action, as XTHs can have xyloglucan endotransglucosylase (XET) or endohydrolase (XEH) activities. While Group 1 and 2 XTHs predominantly exhibit XET activity, to date the activity of only one member of Group 3 has been reported: nasturtium TmXH1, which has a highly specialized function and hydrolyses seed-storage xyloglucan rather than modifying cell wall structure. Tomato fruit ripening was selected as a model to test the hypothesis that preferential XEH activity might be a defining characteristic of Group 3 XTHs, which would be expressed during processes where net xyloglucan depolymerization occurs. Database searches identified 25 tomato XTHs, and one gene (SIXTH5) was of particular interest as it aligned within Group 3 and was expressed abundantly during ripening. Recombinant SIXTH5 protein acted primarily as a transglucosylase in vitro and depolymerized xyloglucan more rapidly in the presence than in the absence of xyloglucan oligosaccharides (XGOs), indicative of XET activity. Thus, there is no correlation between the XTH phylogenetic grouping and the preferential enzymic activities (XET or XEH) of the proteins in those groups. Similar analyses of SIXTH2, a Group 2 tomato XTH, and nasturtium seed TmXTH1 revealed a spectrum of modes of action, suggesting that all XTHs have the capacity to function in both modes. The biomechanical properties of plant walls were unaffected by incubation with SIXTH5, with or without XGOs, suggesting that XTHs do not represent primary cell wall-loosening agents. The possible roles of SIXTH5 in vivo are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology