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Plant Physiol. Aug 1995; 108(4): 1691–1701.
PMCID: PMC157551

Solubilization and partial characterization of extensin fragments from cell walls of cotton suspension cultures. Evidence for a covalent cross-link between extensin and pectin.


Extensin, a major hydroxyproline (Hyp)-rich glycoprotein in walls of cultured cells of dicotyledonous plants, is very difficult to solubilize. To learn about the nature of the insolubilization, we have tested the ability of a variety of selective hydrolytic methods, and combinations of them, to liberate extensin or fragments of extensin from suspension-culture cell walls. After the complete deglycosylation of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) walls, trypsinization solubilized 80% of the Hyp. The sequences of three abundant peptides were: (a) serine-Hyp-Hyp-Hyp-Hyp-Hyp-Hyp-serine-Hyp-Hyp-lysine, (b) serine-Hyp-Hyp-Hyp-Hyp-valine-lysine, and (c) serine-Hyp-Hyp-serine-alanine-Hyp-lysine. After a sequential treatment of walls with endopolygalacturonase, cellulase, -73 degrees C anhydrous hydrogen fluoride solvolysis, and ammonium bicarbonate extraction, only sugars indicative of rhamnogalacturonan I and protein remained insoluble. Trypsin treatment of this residue liberated 50% of the Hyp. A significant proportion of rhamnogalacturonan-associated sugars co-solubilized and co-purified along with the extensin fragments following the trypsinization. By sodium dodecyl sulfate gel electrophoresis and gel filtration, the glycopeptides fell into two classes. One class contained distinctly sized molecules with relative molecular weights in the range of 4,000 to 24,000. The other class did not enter the resolving gel and was hetero-disperse. After complete deglycosylation by a 0 degrees C anhydrous hydrogen fluoride treatment, the first class was little affected in its electrophoretic mobility, whereas the larger heterogeneous material mostly entered the separating gel. After further trypsinization of the deglycosylated peptides and analysis by capillary zone electrophoresis, the peptides in both size classes were shown to contain the sequences described above. From our observations we suggest that cotton extensin becomes insolubilized into cell walls in part by pectin-protein cross-links in addition to the protein-protein (or protein-phenolic-protein) cross-links that have been repeatedly suggested.

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Selected References

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