Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Genome Biol. 2005;6(12):242. Epub 2005 Nov 28.

The expansin superfamily.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, 208 Mueller Lab, University Park, PA 16870, USA.

Abstract

The expansin superfamily of plant proteins is made up of four families, designated alpha-expansin, beta-expansin, expansin-like A and expansin-like B. alpha-Expansin and beta-expansin proteins are known to have cell-wall loosening activity and to be involved in cell expansion and other developmental events during which cell-wall modification occurs. Proteins in these two families bind tightly to the cell wall and their activity is typically assayed by their stimulation of cell-wall extension and stress relaxation; no bona fide enzymatic activity has been detected for these proteins. Alpha-expansin proteins and some, but not all, beta-expansin proteins are implicated as catalysts of 'acid growth', the enlargement of plant cells stimulated by low extracellular pH. A divergent group of beta-expansin genes are expressed at high levels in the pollen of grasses but not of other plant groups. They probably function to loosen maternal cell walls during growth of the pollen tube towards the ovary. All expansins consist of two domains; domain 1 is homologous to the catalytic domain of proteins in the glycoside hydrolase family 45 (GH45); expansin domain 2 is homologous to group-2 grass pollen allergens, which are of unknown biological function. Experimental evidence suggests that expansins loosen cell walls via a nonenzymatic mechanism that induces slippage of cellulose microfibrils in the plant cell wall.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk