Plant cell enlargement is regulated by wall relaxation and yielding, which is thought to be catalyzed by elusive "wall-loosening" enzymes. By employing a reconstitution approach, we found that a crude protein extract from the cell walls of growing cucumber seedlings possessed the ability to induce the extension of isolated cell walls. This activity was restricted to the growing region of the stem and could induce the extension of isolated cell walls from various dicot stems and the leaves of amaryllidaceous monocots, but was less effective on grass coleoptile walls. Endogenous and reconstituted wall extension activities showed similar sensitivities to pH, metal ions, thiol reducing agents, proteases and boiling in methanol or water. Sequential HPLC fractionation of the active wall extract revealed two proteins with molecular masses of 29 and 30 kD associated with the activity. Each protein, by itself, could induce wall extension without detectable hydrolytic breakdown of the wall. These proteins appear to mediate "acid growth" responses of isolated walls and may catalyze plant cell wall extension by a novel biochemical mechanism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology