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Physiol Plant. 2004 Feb;120(2):229-239.

Composition and desiccation-induced alterations of the cell wall in the resurrection plant Craterostigma wilmsii.

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UMR CNRS 6037, IFRMP 23, Centre Commun de Microscopie Electronique. Université de Rouen, 76821 Mont Saint Aignan Cedex, France.


Resurrection plants have the unique capacity to revive from an air-dried state. In order to tolerate desiccation they have to overcome a number of stresses, mechanical stress being one. In leaves of the Craterostigma species, an extensive shrinkage occurs during drying as well as a considerable cell wall folding. Our previous microscopically analysis using immunocytochemistry on the resurrection plant Craterostigma wilmsii, has shown an increase in labelling of xyloglucan and unesterified pectins in the cell wall during drying. In this study, we have undertaken a biochemical approach to separate, quantify and characterize major cell wall polysaccharides in fully hydrated and dry leaves of C. wilmsii. Our results show that the overall cell wall composition of C. wilmsii leaves was similar to that of other dicotyledonous plants with respect to the pectin content. However, the structure of the hemicellulosic polysaccharide xyloglucan was characterized to be XXGG-type. The data also demonstrate marked changes in the hemicellulosic wall fraction from dry plants compared to hydrated ones. The most conspicuous change was a decrease in glucose content in the hemicellulosic fraction of dry plants. In addition, xyloglucan from the cell wall of dry leaves was relatively more substituted with galactose than in hydrated walls. Together these findings show that dehydration induces significant alteration of polysaccharide content and structure in the cell wall of C. wilmsii, which in turn might be involved in the modulation of the mechanical properties of the wall during dehydration.

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