Xyloglucan (XyG) is the dominant hemicellulose present in the primary cell walls of dicotyledonous plants. Unlike Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) XyG, which contains galactosyl and fucosyl substituents, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) XyG contains arabinofuranosyl residues. To investigate the biological function of these differing substituents, we used a functional complementation approach. Candidate glycosyltransferases were identified from tomato by using comparative genomics with known XyG galactosyltransferase genes from Arabidopsis. These candidate genes were expressed in an Arabidopsis mutant lacking XyG galactosylation, and two of them resulted in the production of arabinosylated XyG, a structure not previously found in this plant species. These genes may therefore encode XyG arabinofuranosyltransferases. Moreover, the addition of arabinofuranosyl residues to the XyG of this Arabidopsis mutant rescued a growth and cell wall biomechanics phenotype, demonstrating that the function of XyG in plant growth, development, and mechanics has considerable flexibility in terms of the specific residues in the side chains. These experiments also highlight the potential of reengineering the sugar substituents on plant wall polysaccharides without compromising growth or viability.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science