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Plant Physiol. 1992 Jan;98(1):369-79.

Changes in molecular size of previously deposited and newly synthesized pea cell wall matrix polysaccharides : effects of auxin and turgor.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305.


Effects of indoleacetic acid (IAA) and of turgor changes on the apparent molecular mass (M(r)) distributions of cell wall matrix polysaccharides from etiolated pea (Pisum sativum L.) epicotyl segments were determined by gel filtration chromatography. IAA causes a two- to threefold decline in the peak M(r) of xyloglucan, relative to minus-auxin controls, to occur within 0.5 hour. IAA causes an even larger decrease in the peak M(r) concurrently biosynthesized xyloglucan, as determined by [(3)H]fucose labeling, but this effect begins only after 1 hour. In contrast, IAA does not appreciably affect the M(r) distributions of pectic polyuronides or hemicellulosic arabinose/galactose polysaccharides within 1.5 hours. However, after epicotyl segments are cut, their peak polyuronide M(r) increases and later decreases, possibly as part of a wound response. Xyloglucan also undergoes IAA-independent changes in its M(r) distribution after cutting segments. In addition, the peak M(r) of newly deposited xyloglucan increases from about 9 kilodaltons shortly after deposition to about 30 kilodaltons within 0.5 hour. This may represent a process of integration into the cell wall. A step increase in turgor causes the peak M(r) of previously deposited xyloglucan (but not of the other major polymers) to increase about 10-fold within 0.5 hour, returning to its initial value by 1.5 hours. This upshift may comprise a feedback mechanism that decreases wall extensibility when the rate of wall extension suddenly increases. IAA-induced reduction of xyloglucan M(r) might cause wall loosening that leads to cell enlargement, as has been suggested previously, but the lack of a simple relation between xyloglucan M(r) and elongation rate indicates that loosening must also involve other wall factors, one of which might be the deposition of new xyloglucan of much smaller size. Although the M(r) shifts in polyuronides may represent changes in noncovalent association, and for xyloglucan this cannot be completely excluded, xyloglucan seems to participate in a dynamic process that can both decrease and increase its chain length, possible mechanisms for which are suggested.

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