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Plant Physiol. 2011 Mar;155(3):1068-78. doi: 10.1104/pp.110.168989. Epub 2011 Jan 6.

Loss-of-function mutation of REDUCED WALL ACETYLATION2 in Arabidopsis leads to reduced cell wall acetylation and increased resistance to Botrytis cinerea.

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  • 1Joint Bioenergy Institute and Physical Biosciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Nearly all polysaccharides in plant cell walls are O-acetylated, including the various pectic polysaccharides and the hemicelluloses xylan, mannan, and xyloglucan. However, the enzymes involved in the polysaccharide acetylation have not been identified. While the role of polysaccharide acetylation in vivo is unclear, it is known to reduce biofuel yield from lignocellulosic biomass by the inhibition of microorganisms used for fermentation. We have analyzed four Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) homologs of the protein Cas1p known to be involved in polysaccharide O-acetylation in Cryptococcus neoformans. Loss-of-function mutants in one of the genes, designated REDUCED WALL ACETYLATION2 (RWA2), had decreased levels of acetylated cell wall polymers. Cell wall material isolated from mutant leaves and treated with alkali released about 20% lower amounts of acetic acid when compared with the wild type. The same level of acetate deficiency was found in several pectic polymers and in xyloglucan. Thus, the rwa2 mutations affect different polymers to the same extent. There were no obvious morphological or growth differences observed between the wild type and rwa2 mutants. However, both alleles of rwa2 displayed increased tolerance toward the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea.

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