Plant cell walls are highly dynamic structures that are composed predominately of polysaccharides. As such, endogenous carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZymes) are central to the synthesis and subsequent modification of plant cells during morphogenesis. The endo-glucanase 16 (EG16) members constitute a distinct group of plant CAZymes, angiosperm orthologs of which were recently shown to have dual β-glucan/xyloglucan hydrolase activity. Molecular phylogeny indicates that EG16 members comprise a sister clade with a deep evolutionary relationship to the widely studied apoplastic xyloglucan endotransglycosylases/ hydrolases (XTH). A cross-genome survey indicated that EG16 members occur as a single ortholog across species and are widespread in early diverging plants, including the non-vascular bryophytes, for which functional data were previously lacking. Remarkably, enzymological characterization of an EG16 ortholog from the model moss Physcomitrella patens (PpEG16) revealed that EG16 activity and sequence/structure are highly conserved across 500 million years of plant evolution, vis-à-vis orthologs from grapevine and poplar. Ex vivo biomechanical assays demonstrated that the application of EG16 gene products caused abrupt breakage of etiolated hypocotyls rather than slow extension, thereby indicating a mode-of-action distinct from endogenous expansins and microbial endo-glucanases. The biochemical data presented here will inform future genomic, genetic, and physiological studies of EG16 enzymes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology