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Plant Physiol. 1991 Oct;97(2):551-61.

Tracing cell wall biogenesis in intact cells and plants : selective turnover and alteration of soluble and cell wall polysaccharides in grasses.

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  • 1Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907.


Cells of proso millet (Panicum miliaceum L. cv Abarr) in liquid culture and leaves of maize seedlings (Zea mays L. cv LH51 x LH1131) readily incorporated d-[U-(14)C]glucose and l-[U-(14)C]arabinose into soluble and cell wall polymers. Radioactivity from arabinose accumulated selectively in polymers containing arabinose or xylose because a salvage pathway and C-4 epimerase yield both nucleotide-pentoses. On the other hand, radioactivity from glucose was found in all sugars and polymers. Pulse-chase experiments with proso millet cells in liquid culture demonstrated turnover of buffer soluble polymers within minutes and accumulation of radioactive polymers in the cell wall. In leaves of maize seedlings, radioactive polymers accumulated quickly and peaked 30 hours after the pulse then decreased slowly for the remaining time course. During further growth of the seedlings, radioactive polymers became more tenaciously bound in the cell wall. Sugars were constantly recycled from turnover of polysaccharides of the cell wall. Arabinose, hydrolyzed from glucuronoarabinoxylans, and glucose, hydrolyzed from mixed-linkage (1-->3, 1-->4)beta-d-glucans, constituted most of the sugar participating in turnover. Arabinogalactans were a large portion of the buffer soluble (cytoplasmic) polymers of both proso millet cells and maize seedlings, and these polymers also exhibited turnover. Our results indicate that the primary cell wall is not simply a sink for various polysaccharide components, but rather a dynamic compartment exhibiting long-term reorganization by turnover and alteration of specific polymers during development.

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